Having grown up in a dysfunctional environment, you might wonder what are the qualities of a good family. In fact, most of us have inherited family patterns of behaviours that may be harmful. Self-awareness is a first step towards breaking these generational patterns.
It is common for parents to want to provide their children with all the material things they haven’t had as children themselves. However, a childhood they won’t have to recover from is perhaps the greatest gift we can give them…
What are the qualities of a good family?
Communication is a key to healthy relationships within a family. It allows its members to express their needs, wants, feelings, and concerns to each other. How often we do not communicate about what’s important to us, only to build resentment towards another family member later on. Open communication enables family members to express themselves freely, without feeling like they need to lie to each other.
Trust is the foundation of all healthy relationships. It’s essential that family members trust each other, and its absence can lead to frequent conflicts. Trust provides us with a feeling of psychological safety and encourages us to be more open with each other.
Speaking with kindness, being gentle and considerate – are all qualities of a good family. Being compassionate towards one another is essential when we want to build a healthy family. Ways of showing compassion in our families:
- Offering to help with a task
- Apologizing when we’ve made a mistake
- Listening carefully
- Expressing gratitude and appreciation
You might be interested in: 7 traumatizing things you should never say to your child
4. They manage conflict well
Conflicts will arise. It’s not a question of if, but a question of when. However, good families know how to manage conflicts well. Within healthy relationships, people avoid blaming each other, they don’t scream or curse one another and actively listen to what their spouse or child has to say.
If they can’t do all of that, they communicate about needing some space and inform another family member that they’ll come back to the conversation in an hour or a day. It does not, however, mean that they give each other days of silent treatment (that’s called being passive aggressive). Instead, they simply acknowledge that they cannot stay calm and need to cool off but will come back to the discussion.
As I’ve mentioned, trust is vital to a happy home. And for family members to trust each other, there must be ongoing honesty. No one wants to be second-guessing, doubting, questioning others or themselves. Honesty is one of the most virtuous characteristics of a happy family and it’s important to teach it to our children.
Empathy is an ability to understand another person’s thoughts and feelings in a situation from their point of view, rather than your own.
It allows us to take care of each other when we’re feeling unwell; it helps us provide a safe and nurturing environment for our children and practice compassion.
Parents who are empathetic and patient are better at guiding their children in understanding and managing anger. How often do we tell our children to stop crying about something that seems so insignificant to us, yet don’t realize it’s a big deal to them? Empathy enables us to sit down with our children, listen to them, soothe them, and validate their feelings.
7. Boundaries (one of the most vital qualities of a good family)
Boundaries are extremely important, as they tell our loved ones how we want to be treated. They are guidelines between family members about suitable behaviors and responsibilities.
How do you know if your child is pushing your boundaries? Here are some examples: your 14-year-old interrupts your conversation with another adult without saying ”excuse me” or waiting to get your attention. Your young child tells you what to do and throws tantrums if you don’t do what she says. Broken boundaries between spouses could be: your husband sharing private information about you with his friends.
Know what you value, think, and where you stand. Communicate your boundaries clearly and make your expectations known. Setting healthy boundaries is vital to a happy family home, furthermore as children get older, they need to learn how to set boundaries for themselves and respect those of others, so you must lead by example.
Qualities of a good family include showing support to one another. Support from our family members encourages us to strive for our goals, strengthen our relationships, and help to increase our mental well-being. If you grew up in a household where you rarely received any support, then probably you’ve experienced times when you had little to no self-confidence. So if there’s anything you can start practicing today in order to have a healthy family home, it should be support.
Being respectful means being polite. And while we’re teaching our children to give up a seat on a bus for an elder, are we setting an example of being respectful at home? Families where it’s members respect one another manage conflicts better because they listen to each other when they disagree. Mutual respect helps minimize hurt feelings, moreover, it teaches children how to value themselves and others.
10. Spending quality time together
Quality time helps strengthen family bonds. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can go for walks, have a picnic or play ball games together. Time spent together with no distractions will encourage open communication, build your children’s self-esteem, and create great memories. So put that phone down and spend some time doing fun things all together.
11. Feelings of safety
In a healthy environment, there shouldn’t be anyone walking on eggshells. Being abusive – physically violent, threatening, name-calling, are all extremely negative characteristics of a family member. (Seek help here if you think you are being abused). Not only does it hurt other members of the family in a short term, but can also leave long-term negative effects. Children who grow up in abusive homes have lower self-esteem and depression later on in their lives. Where good family relationship exists, all of its members feel safe.