- Who constitute a family?
- Why are family relationships important?
- What are the characteristics of a strong family?
- How to build strong family relationships?
A strong family is all that you need to fight all odds in life. No matter how the day has been for you, no matter how people must have behaved with you, and no matter the problems you have been facing, the smiling face of your spouse and children help you stay balanced.
But that trust and support do not come easily. They are built over the years with careful nurturing.
What Constitutes a Family?
A family constitutes people who are related to each other and share an emotional bond and similar values. Family members can be related by birth, marriage, or adoption.
Your immediate family includes parents, siblings, spouse, and children. And your extended family includes people you are related to, such as grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles, nephews, nieces etc.
Families are of different sizes — nuclear (a couple and their children), joint (a couple, their children, grandchildren), blended (a couple, their children, and children from their previous marriages), etc.
[ Read: Signs Of Dysfunctional Family ]
Why are Family Relationships Important?
A family is important because our mental growth, well-being, and stability all depend on our family.
- A family makes all its members feel safe and connected to one another.
- It provides us with the comfort of having people by our side during tough times, helping us to manage our stress.
- A family allows us to feel safe, protected, accepted and loved despite our shortcomings.
- Families are the basic units that teach children about relationships. Children brought up in a healthy family will be able to form better bonds outside their home.
- Strong relationships teach us how to build trust in others as family members share both good and bad times together.
- Conflicts in family teach children a respectful way to resolve problems in the future.
- A strong family is all a person needs to become confident in life.
What are the Characteristics of a Strong Family?
Each family is different. But all strong families have some common features. A few of them are listed below:
- Have good communication. A healthy family talks and listens to its every member. It encourages adults and children alike to have a say in the decision making, share their opinions, or talk about their expectations and disappointments.
- Share a feeling of togetherness. The members of the family share common beliefs and, therefore, feel connected to each other. This sense of similarity yields psychological affirmation and one has the satisfaction of being together with like-minded people.
- Spend time with each other. They make sure to have at least one meal together every day. They enjoy playing, camping, dining out or simply discussing politics. They actively involve themselves in each other’s lives but know where to draw a line.
- Show care and affection to every member. The members have kind words to say each other. They accept you unconditionally but guide you on to the right path if you are deviating. With their care and affection, they make you feel belonged.
- Lead by example. The elders follow what they teach the younger members of the family. The value system is set up by example.
- Support its members. The world might be against you, but your family is with you. It supports you in your fight, and lets you know they are with you in your decisions. A well-knit family does not discriminate between family members and responds to everybody’s needs.
- See a crisis situation as an opportunity to grow. They strive to see something positive in all circumstances, helping you to cope with adverse situations without getting overwhelmed.
- Focus on every member’s well-being. The family members work as a team to protect and provide for each other. Only the feeling of mutual love can motivate people into compromising on their comforts for the happiness of their family.
- Show resilience. Every family goes through ups and downs in their lives and share a painful experience together. But no distressing experience loosens the bond. The virtue of loyalty comes from a family.
Remember that all these virtues of a strong family do not come overnight. You need to work together for years to build a healthy family.
[ Read: Parent-Child Relationship ]
How to build strong family relationships?
Here are some ways to build strong family connections:
1. Spend quality time
Set aside some time (maybe meal times) every day as family time, when you can talk about things and laugh together.
- Share family stories or ask everyday simple things to encourage conversation, such as “Hey, what did you do today in the school?”, “How are you finding your new Math teacher?”
- Set aside one-on-one chat time for everyone in the family to foster your bond. It can merely be five minutes before going to bed, but this can bring every member close to one another.
- Set some time apart exclusively for your partner.
2. Maintain good communication with everyone in the family
When your children or spouse want to talk, respect their need and listen to them with attention. Give them enough time to express themselves properly.
- Be approachable to talk about difficult things. Talking about feelings like anger or frustration or delicate issues should be welcomed instead of shunning them. Talking about them doesn’t mean you are encouraging them but are helping solve the problem. Also be welcoming even for uncomfortable conversations. That is how people build trust that they can go to family with any issue.
- Be ready for a spontaneous conversation with kids. They often talk about their feelings before going to bed or in the shower. Listen to them.
- Be prepared to talk about matters of concern, especially with teenagers. Families find it difficult to discuss sex, alcohol, drugs or finances with the younger members. However, it is through a conversation that you can address such matters.
- Encourage non-verbal conversation through simple gestures like a warm kiss on the forehead every night before your children go to bed. It can relay your love to them.
3. Appreciate everyone in the family
Appreciate every member for performing their duties well. For example, praising and thanking a teenager for taking care of a younger sibling will make them feel important.
4. Acknowledge and celebrate each other’s talents, differences and strengths
A good family always cherishes the uniqueness of each of its members and acknowledges their abilities and strengths. At the same time, they help each other correct their shortcomings.
5. Stay focused on the current problem
Do not bring up previous issues every time you have to address a problem. In that way, you can avoid unpleasantness and instead, focus on the issue at hand.
6. Work like a team
When your family works as a team, every member feels acknowledged for their contribution. Share household chores. Allow little children to participate in chores like picking up their toys or putting their shoes back.
7. Establish clear family rules
Make family rules that clearly mention how every member should behave and treat each other. For example, “We talk respectfully with everyone in our family,” or “In our family, we help each other no matter what.” Such small but clear rules can make the family stronger and peaceful.
8. Teach children to forgive and make amends
Healthy families teach its members how to apologize, and forgive others when someone makes a mistake. It teaches children to take responsibility for their actions. Try to have fun family rituals, which are special to your family, to increase the sense of belongingness.
Most of us value our families but may not be aware of the significance of advancing our family ties. It takes time, dedication and hard work to raise a successful and happy family. But it is all worth the efforts.
[ Read: How To Be A Good Father ]
What is your idea of a strong family? Let us know your opinion in the comment section below.
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