Family Relationships

Strong Family Relationships

mana and woman kissing infantStrong families know their family strengths and those areas where they could improve. They have healthy relationships and practice positive parenting skills.

Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has focused on families who believe they are doing well. Family members from all 50 states and 27 countries have been asked, "What makes your family strong?" Read what these families have shared about 6 strengths that are similar from culture to culture.

Families are the basic, foundational social units in all human communities around the world. It's in everyone's best interest to help create a positive environment for all families.

6 strengths families use to create positive environments:

1. Appreciation and affection- Appreciation and affection are about caring for each other as family members. Sharing positive emotional feelings with each other and being nice to each other are just a couple of ways families show appreciation and affection.

2. Commitment- Members of strong families show a strong commitment to one another, investing time and energy in family activities and not letting their work or other priorities take too much time away from family interaction. Commitment is trusting, respecting, accepting - putting your family first.

3. Positive communication- Communication is a key to a strong family. It should be open, honest and straightforward. Positive communication is about telling others how you feel, compromising or at least agreeing to disagree, as well as verbal praise and giving compliments.

Effective communication occurs with many different individuals and at many levels. For more on this topic go to the Communication page. Some of these topics include:

 
  • Family communication
  • Communicating with your spouse
  • Handling conflict
  • Talking with children

family of four reading together4. Enjoyable time together- Family time should be fun time. When adults think back on their childhood, it is the happy memories they cherish. Families should work to create customs and rituals that provide them with many enjoyable memories. These do not have to involve lots of money or supplies. Family activities and fun are just finding time to be together. Sharing family mealtimes is one way to spend enjoyable time together. Check out 365 Ways to Spend Time with Your Family!

5. Spiritual well-being- Spiritual well-being is the hope, faith and optimism a family shares. It is the sacred connections they have or the religion or spirituality they possess. Spiritual well-being is also the caring, support and compassion that families feel.

6. Successful management of stress and crisis - Strong families have the ability to manage stress and crisis in their lives in positive, creative ways. They work together rather than pulling apart. Crisis and stress are opportunities to help other family members; and helping others can in turn help themselves.

UNL research has identified these 6 qualities of strong families which are similar across cultures.

Family Treasures is a book which provides in-depth information on each of the 6 qualities plus numerous activities your family can use to grow in each of the strengths.

This article has been written and reviewed by UNL Extension Educators and Specialists.

Getting Connected, Staying Connected
Couples and families have it in their power to be happy with each other and create a pleasant and peaceful home environment in which they live together. This book was written to help couples accentuate the positive - to show clearly and simply how happy couple and family relationships are created and maintained over time.

UNL Extension Publications for Families Listing of NebGuides on related topics.

Family Treasures book cover
Family Treasures
Designed to help families of all kinds assess their strengths as a family and build upon their asssets; includes family activities. Written by John DeFrain, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

 

Getting Connected, Staying Connecrted

Getting Connected, Staying Connected
Couples and families have it in their power to be happy with each other and create a pleasant and peaceful home environment in which they live together. This book was written to help couples accentuate the positive - to show clearly and simply how happy couple and family relationships are created and maintained over time.
 


eXtension.org - National Extension site on families and parenting