What makes a strong family?
The Family Strengths Project wanted to know what makes for a strong family so they ran a survey with some focus groups with families, and the results were very interesting.
In all, they identified 7 family strengths:
- This is probably the most important of all of the strengths. It involves open, honest, positive (sometimes humorous) and frequent communication amongst family members, where people feel heard and they are encouraged to express themselves.
- This is the sense of belonging we have within our family. It’s about sharing in each others’ lives, helping each other, being there for each other and pulling together when needed.
- Shared activities strengthen togetherness but are also valuable in their own right. They include going out together, hanging out at home together or sharing in each other’s hobbies or interests.
- Affection is an important way of showing love to other family members. It involves being warm, loving and taking an interest in the other person.
- Strong families support each other. They help, encourage, reassure and look out for each other. It can include both practical and emotional support.
- Acceptance is about respecting others within your family, recognising their differences and appreciating what they bring to the family. It involves allowing everyone to be themselves, and contribute to the family.
- Commitment is about a sense of responsibility toward family members, and working together to create loving family life where everyone feels supported and loved.
Plus one extra secret ingredient.
- The project discovered that families often grow stronger when faced with challenges or adversity, but not every family does.
- So why do some families grow in the face of challenges and some families crumble? The difference it seems is a sense of shared values.
- Shared values act as ‘glue’. They bond people together and build belonging and resilience. Rituals, such as family dinners or certain celebrations, help foster a sense of shared values.
So how strong is your family? And what are your shared values?
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