What Makes for a Successful Family?

Written by Karyn Hall

May 14, 2021

Psychologists like to study everything!  Often they study what’s going wrong but sometimes they study what’s going right. What does the research show about successful families? They’ve identified some characteristics that could be helpful in strengthening your family relationships, especially if you find yourself in very close quarters now, due to the stay-at-home order.

1.  Open, clear communication.   Open and clear communication means that you are honest and vulnerable with your family members, not hiding your emotions or misleading them, or hinting around, or being indirect. Open means being authentic and real. This doesn’t mean that you say just whatever is on your mind. You can also censor. Honest communication means that you express what is true, NOT what you think in times of anger or upset. You can be honest and still censor unhelpful thoughts and words.

2.  Encouragement of individual members.   This means that individual members are supported, respected, and recognized. Strong families cultivate a sense of belonging to a family, but also nurture individual strengths and interests. The family framework provides structure but does not confine the family members.

3. Commitment to the family. Each family member is valued; each is supported and sustained. At the same time, each member is committed to the family as a united whole, with a sense of being a team. There is a sense of a family identity and unity. This also means that families spend time together. The shared time is high in both quality and quantity.

4.  Appreciation. Appreciation means that family members deliver a high level of positive reinforcement to family members, day in and day out, doing things that are positive from the other person’s perspective, just for their sake. Family members experience delight, liking, warmth and humor.

5. Ability to adapt; flexibility.  Healthy families can change, they can adapt as needed to cope with stress and predictable and unpredictable life cycle changes.

6.  Social Connectedness.  This characteristic is related to the family’s ability to adapt and cope with crises as well as daily problems. Successful families are not isolated–they are connected to the wider society.

7.  Clear role definition.  With a clear, yet flexible structure in place, family members are aware of their responsibilities in and to the family.  So when there are problems, members know their roles.

Live a skill-full life

Subscribe to our blog articles
We will send you a notification when a new blog article was published.

You May Also Like…

Only Four Things You Can Do

Only Four Things You Can Do

Life is full of wonderful moments. It’s also full of painful ones. There’s no choice about many of those painful moments, but how you handle the pain can add to or decrease the emotional suffering in your life.

read more
Values

Values

Living your values is part of creating long term pleasure and happiness. What are your core values? You may have many values, but what are your top 5?  If you would like some guidance, try this site.

read more
Implied Criticism: You’re Imagining Things!

Implied Criticism: You’re Imagining Things!

“Are you wearing that dress to dinner?”
My friend Amy can say that with just the right tone of voice. You know—the one that lets you know she is in disbelief that you would actually do such a horrible thing. But what happens if you

read more

0 Comments

Share