A family alliance is a connection or union of individual family members that demonstrate an affinity for one another and are joined by a mutual interest.
Family alliances are formed between family members who affect the structure and functioning of the entire unit. The combinations are plentiful. Here we will deal with the most common alliances that influence a daughter's position in the family and the overall relationship with her mother and other family members. The order in which these are presented is random and does not suggest a hierarchy of importance.
Alliance #1: Dad + Daughter
Daughters who align themselves with Dad may get a good go-between for themselves and Mom, but the conspiratorial closeness they exhibit with Dad may make Mom resentful and jealous.
Alliance #2: Mom + Daughter
The alliance between mother and daughter is a natural one despite their conflicts, particularly during adolescence. Sharing the same gender and identifying with one's mom is a strong reason to become allies. On the other side of the coin, situations when Moms align themselves with their daughters can get sticky for several reasons:
- An alliance can pit one sibling against another when there is more than one child, particularly another daughter.
- Usually Mom aligns herself with the child she can manipulate the most.
- Sometimes the mother-daughter alliance is formed in order to present a united, confrontational, and protective front where Dad is concerned.
- In some cases, a mother forms too close of an alliance with a daughter, and turning her into a friend at too early of a age and confiding in her inappropriately.
Alliance #3: Sibling + Sibling
The coalition formed by cooperative siblings is called "sibling axis." This type of alliance inside the family gives siblings leverage with the older generation, namely Mom and Dad. It's the old story of strength in numbers.
Alliance #4: Mother + Son
A mother may form an alliance with a son for some of the same reasons she created one with her daughter. However, as we shall see shortly, a son is viewed and treated differently by his mom. This may particularly affect the quality and intimacy of the alliance as well as the determination whether or not to select a son because expectations of him are less when compared with daughters.
The next step it to watch these alliances in action and see how they affect the family dynamics.