Family Roles Defined: Mascot and Lost Child

My self-discovery test, the Changemaker Test, is found on another of my blogs. Learning Your Labels. In my test, I have added what I found about the family roles. We actually choose 2 roles–what I call a “doing role” (how the world sees us) and a “being role” (the role we use when we get into emotional trouble). My roles are family hero/rescuer and scapegoat.

Family roles in dysfunctional families (which is all of us are part of at one time or another) were introduced by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse in her book, The Family Trap.

Mascot and Lost Child are reprinted below.

  1.  Mascot–

Positive characteristics of the mascot:

Playful—joyful—active—charming—sense of humor—keeps the peace in the family—cute

Negative characteristics of mascot:

Immature—disruptive—short attention span—confused—feels crazy at times—accident prone—fragile—may have learning disabilities

Inner feelings of mascot:

Need to provide fun and humor as distractions for family—insecurity—anxiety

Major hidden feelings of mascot:

They are afraid that they will be judged “dumb”

Gift to the family:

To provide fun and humor as distraction from family’s problems

To outgrow need mascot role, he/she needs to learn:

To learn to accept responsibility

To not use humor to avoid conflict

To feel comfortable with feelings of sadness and/or grief

Techniques others may use to help the mascot to give up using this role exclusively:

Through validation that the ideas of the mascot are sound

To agree that the mascot is able to take care of self

To appreciate the mascot’s sense of humor

2. Lost Child-

Positive characteristics of the lost child:

Can work independently—good listener—good manual dexterity—hobbyist—resourceful—creative—good observer—well-read—imaginative—nonconformist—enjoys solitude

Negative characteristics of lost child:

Fears reality—indecisive—low self-esteem—feels invisible—sad—depressed—blames others—withdrawn—never a behavior problem

Inner feelings of lost child:


Major hidden feelings of lost child:


Gift to the family:

The lost child offers relief to the family as they are “forgotten” by family and are rarely a problem.

To outgrow need for lost child role, he/she needs to learn:

To reach out to others with his/her need

To make close relationships

Techniques others may use to help the lost child to give up using this role exclusively:

To help lost child to reach out and face his/her pain

To learn to experience intimacy and closeness with others

To reflect the creativity, talent, and imagination of the lost child

Photo credit.

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