Qualities of a healthy family

Healthy families have variety of traits that provide well-being.

Researchers across the country and around the world have found that strong families have a wide variety of qualities that contribute to a family’s well-being.  These traits have been found across all racial, social and economic groups as wells as in families across the globe. Strong families are not families without problems. Functional families are not, simply, the opposite of dysfunctional families. All families face challenges, but some families are better equipped to deal with them than others.

The first step in developing the strengths of one’s family is to consider those areas in which the family is doing well and areas the family members would like to improve.

Six qualities that researchers have identified as indicators of a strong family:

  • Appreciation and affection - they help each other, keep promises, and show affection to each other.
  • Committed - Strong families are very loyal to each other, share responsibilities, make decisions together, allow members to make their own decisions with support, and find it easy to trust one another.
  • Positive communication -Families that eat together regularly communicate (as long as the phones and TVs are turn off). They like to share feeling with each other and cue into each other’s feelings. Put downs and sarcasm is rare.
  • Strong coping skills - Families with healthy well-being tend to be resilient. Crisis brings them closer together and they are supportive of one another. They look for something good from a bad situation and tend to accept the things they cannot change.
  • Healthy spiritual well-being - It is easy for them to share spiritual values and beliefs with each other. Positive attitude is the norm and they have a sense of peace.
  • Spending time together -There is shared common interest with strong families. They have lots of fun together and often laughter is plentiful. Unplanned spontaneous activities together are common.

All these family strengths are connected, overlap to some degree, and interact with each other. These family strengths become interwove like a big ball of string collected over time. The more families practices the traits, the more resilient they will be.

As a family, take the time to review these six characteristics and identify strengths as well as weaknesses. Create a plan to work on the areas you would like to improve and begin to reap the wonderful benefits.

Michigan State University Extension offers variety of educational program throughout the state. Visit the website for more information.

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