Family Issues & Parenting

Why do some families fall apart when faced with adversity, while others thrive and become stronger? This is an exploration of the qualities of those resilient families. It is also a framework for families to establish and maintain these strengths and avoid the need for relationship & marriage counselling. Several qualities have been identified as directly related to family strengths. These qualities include the following: Communication, Togetherness, Sharing Activities, Affection, Support and Acceptance, and Commitment.

Communication

This quality is considered a strength when a family interacts with each other frequently and predominately in an open, positive, honest manner. Some families also mentioned humor as a strength in their communication.

Togetherness

The invisible ‘glue’ that bonds the family and gives the family members a sense of belonging. An important ingredient to this ‘glue’ is sharing similar values, beliefs and morals.

Sharing Activities

trong families like to share and do activities with each other—activities such as sports, camping, playing games, reading stories, socializing together, and sharing hobbies and holidays.

Affection

This quality is considered a strength when family members show love, care, concern and interest for each other on a regular basis through words, hugs, kisses and thoughtfulness. Expressions of affection are often ritualized in families—for example with greetings and farewells, bedtime story reading , and during such celebrations such as birthdays and holidays.

Support

Assisting, encouraging, reassuring each other and looking out for each other. It is a strength when family members feel equally comfortable to offer or ask for support.

Acceptance

Means showing respect, appreciation, and understanding for each other’s individuality and uniqueness. Acceptance is a strength when family members acknowledge, value and tolerate each other’s differences, and when the members allow each other space.

Commitment

Showing dedication and loyalty toward the family as a whole. Strong families often view the well being of the family as first priority. Commitment is expressed in many ways. To the family, the partner relationship, children, the extended family, and the community.

These factors can provide a basic framework to use in building a strong family. When crisis comes, the families that demonstrate the ability to pull together rather than apart, reframing/restating the crisis in a more positive and manageable light; and seeking help when it is needed.

Remember that strong healthy families form the best social welfare system there can ever be, and strengthening families represents a very sound investment in America’s future.

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