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Characteristics of Healthy Families

Supportive & Communicative

  • Free, open, easy, spontaneous communication and listening

  • Promotion of intimacy and autonomy

  • Empathy and expression of affection

  • Affirm and support one another

  • Develop a sense of trust

  • Joy and comfort in relating (humor, warmth, optimism)

Parents as Leaders

  • Strong marriage (shared power, intimacy and cooperation; devoted, not competitive

  • Democratic parental power (balance of nurture and structure)

  • Clear rules and expectations, consistently enforced

  • Model behavior they expect from children

Take Responsibility

  • Sense of shared responsibility

  • Responsibility is paired with recognition

  • Admit problems and seek solutions; problems are swept under the rug

  • Develop a discipline of forgiveness and reconciliation

  • Family members own their behavior and its consequences

Quality Time

  • Family traditions

  • Form connections to the community

  • Eat meals together

  • Share leisure time together

  • Active lifestyle

  • Playfulness, have fun, humor, laugh together

Values & Mutual Respect

  • Emphasis on spiritual growth, peace, love, hope, shared religious core

  • Teach respect for and service to others

  • Teach a sense of right and wrong

  • Respect privacy of one another

  • Value differences among family members; each member is unique and valued

Adapted from Delores Curran’s ‘Traits of a Healthy Family’

*What would you add to the list?*What characteristics would you say are strengths in your family?*What characteristics would you like to improve in your family?

#parenting #families #familytherapy #therapist #counseling #counselor #therapy

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