NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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What Makes Your Family Strong?

What Makes Your Family Strong?

            Families are the basic, foundational social units in all human communities around the world. Strong families have healthy relationships and practice positive parenting skills  They know their family strengths and those areas where they could improve.

            Research at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln recently focused on families who believe they are doing well. Family members from all 50 states and 27 countries were asked, "What makes your family strong?"  The families surveyed identified six essential strengths in order to create the best possible environment for each and every family member.

             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.

            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.

             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.

             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. Many times 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 just one way to spend enjoyable time together.

            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.

            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 which in turn helps themselves.

In the category, “Enjoyable Time Together”, the survey included the following statements. Try your own survey by placing an “S” for Strength beside the qualities you feel your family has achieved.  Place a “G” beside those qualities that are an area of potential Growth. . Place a “NA” for Not Applicable beside those characteristics that do not apply to your family or are not a characteristic important to you.

In our family:

-         We have a number of common interests

-         We like to have fun together.

-         We feel comfortable with each others.

-         We like to give each other a chance to do new things.

-         We enjoy hearing our grandparents’ stories about the past.

-         We enjoy simple inexpensive family activities.         

-         We feel strongly connected to each other.

-         We often laugh with each other.

-         Observing family rituals and customs is important to us.

-         We share memories with each other.

-         We often laugh with each other.

-         We enjoy the time we have together.


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