The need for family appreciation
Appreciation is a vital key in strong families. Family members meet this need for themselves and each other by encouraging and building one another through positive “strokes.”
Michigan State University Extension says the skills of appreciation builds on the commitment of individuals to each other and to the family as a whole. Whether it is expressed through words, a soft touch of the hand or a hug, appreciation contributes to the feeling that life is good. Psychologist William James said, “The most important human need of all is the need to be appreciated.” Family members meet this need for themselves and each other by encouraging and building each other up through positive “strokes.”
Appreciation in strong families has three aspects:
- Accenting the positive: Recognizing what is positive about your family members.
- Expression of appreciation: This is not something that just happens, sometimes you have to think about and make sure that you express appreciation to each family member.
- Acceptance of appreciation: Some people have difficulty acknowledging a kind remark. Perhaps they want to appear modest or they don’t believe they are worthy of such praise. In either case, it is important to remember that appreciation must be reinforced. It is like a plant that withers without water, nutrients and sunlight.
Accenting the positive is the most vital aspect of appreciation. Without this emphasis on the good qualities of relationships there is no possible way for these skills to improve the lives of family members. There are negative aspects in strong families. But strong families are committed to sharing the positive as much as they can because they know how well it works to solidify bonds.
There is only one basic element in accenting the positive, but it is vitally important. It is the ability to recognize those qualities in others which are of value both for the individual and the family. This ability must be repeated often. Positive actions are likely to induce positive reactions, first in the attitudes of others, and then in their behaviors.
The expression of appreciation fills the relationships in strong families. Strong family members let each other know on a daily basis that each one is special.