TEEN SOUL POWER
How to Have a Happy and Healthy Family
The Ten Rules for Family Satisfaction and a High Quality of Life
The Ten Rules for Family Satisfaction and a High Quality of Life
What do you really want? Money? Power? Prestige? How about real family? Very few people on their death bed will turn and say, "I wish I had more money." What they really want to say is, "If I could have done it over again I would have been the best father/mother or son/daughter a person could have been."
Happy families are healthy families. Happy families have a high level of satisfaction with their family life. They have strong attachment to the family, a sense of belonging and trust in the family. They have mutual respect, good communication, and are responsible in their own roles and obligations.
But today, many families seem to be eroding. Divorce, isolation, and anger and rage are often found, despite the fact that families are very important to all of us.
So why are some families able to cope so well? Why are some families so happy and even thrive - despite common stressors we all face? Maybe the answer really is simple. Maybe the answer lies in-and-with the way we actually treat each other.
Happy families have common characteristics. They do certain things which bring a sense of comfort and trust, and they nurture love and affection - even if not in those exact words. They may show self-sacrifice, be more cheerful, fulfill their obligations, and spend more time together.
As important, is what happy families don’t do. They don’t insult or swear, tear each other down, or show constant criticism and negativity. They don’t over-react.
They do not do things in spitefulness or for revenge, and they don’t put drinking, drugging or gambling above the needs of the family.
Every family wants and needs a high level of satisfaction and enjoyment. But in a healthy family, it’s not about “me,” it is really about “us.”
All families will have squabbles, arguments and fights.…. but with practice the conflicts end so that the family can get back to normal.
Raising a happy and healthy family today takes more than luck. It takes time, patience, and the knowledge of basic rules for a high quality of life. It takes intimacy and balance. They spend meaningful and sufficient time together, show strong bonding, and have good problem solving skills – important for family satisfaction. Yes, it takes work - but that's not a bad thing - work is what makes it so rewarding years into the relationship.
When marriages fail, too often it is not the result of “incompatibility” or “irreconcilable differences”, but of simple neglect. We let people, places and things– as well as our own ego come before our family, and it can result in a slow erosion of the family instead of what should be a lifelong process of building a stronger family.
Family is a journey full of experiences - some beautiful, some unexpected, others painful -- but even here many families cope and thrive and make this journey happily successful with only minor deviation. Family is a great gift. With a little understanding and work, most of us will find family to be our greatest blessing.
Healthy and happy families are a critical pillar of a civilized society. But many marriages are failing. In fact, according to the National Center for Health Statistics divorce as running about 40-50 percent. So what the the rules to follow to help your family be happy and healthy? The answers aren't as complicated as you may think.
The Rules for Healthy Families
Healthy families show the following characteristics, and the degree of health of the family depends on large part upon the degree to which these factors are found to be natural and inherent within each family system:
Laughter, warmth, joy, and humor: Virtually every study shows that healthy families differ from unhealthy families in that they experience warmth, joy and humor in their families. Healthy families enjoy each others’ company and one hears laughter - which leads to renewal and wellness and in putting serious concerns in proper perspective.
Kindness and Generosity: Healthy families inherently show respect, gentleness, and gratefulness, politeness, and appreciation. Members are kind and generous… generous with their time, with what they have, with their love. They are courteous and compliment their spouses and children, and children demonstrate respect to their parents.
Responsibility: A necessary aspect of life is fulfilling needed tasks, chores and responsibilities. In healthy families, all family members pitch in and carry a shared weight so that it does not fall upon one person. One can count upon others trusting they will carry through on their responsibilities. This helps the family operate smoothly, and reduces needless chaos, anxiety, tension and pain.
Communication: Healthy families practice effective communication with positive, clear messages that tend to build rather than disrupt relationships. The style of communication helps to solve problems rather than complicate them, and lowers stress rather than being purposefully meant to exacerbate it. Effective communication is built on active listening, and discussion rather than demands. In healthy families, one thinks before one speaks, and one does not use offensive language, insults or threats, or issue ultimatums.
Religiosity: The practice of religion is a proven protective factor for families and is highly correlated with mental health stability and quality of life satisfaction.
Numerous studies show that youth with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than other children and have better self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents. Religion reduces crime, contributes to health and mental health, and is a primary factor in joy and fulfillment. Higher levels of religiousness tend to be tied to higher levels of satisfaction of parents and adolescents with their family, and with more positive family dynamics including increasing the relationship satisfaction for parents. Religion teaches families to seek forgiveness, to comfort, and to help and aid.
Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., once said “the family that prays together stays together.”
Style of Conflict: All families have conflict. But healthy families avoid the trap where conflict translates into an emotionally-charged argument which further escalates into threats or insults. Healthy families will actively avoid hurtful words and deal with conflict in a rationale manner and try for a win-win outcome.
Family Time Together: Healthy families have both quality time and quantity of time. They spend meaningful time together and they do this often. Many believe that quality of time not quantity of time is necessary, but for identity, unity and intimacy families do need both.
Self-Assessment: Healthy families have an ability to self-assess, to see how one is functioning and if behaviors are functional or dysfunctional. For example, is a father spending too much time working and away from the family? Self-assessment and self-adjustment dynamics are essential to family improvement. In a healthy family all members apologize, and are willing and readily able to reflect, atone, and change.
Commitment and Protectionism: In a committed family there is a feeling of trust, of belonging, of unity. Healthy families may “argue” but do so in “balance.” They would never threaten or denigrate another family member because the desire to protect the family allows them to place a greater good over personal idiosyncratic differences.
Knowing When to Restrain Yourself: Family members should be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slower to anger. Good communication is not about who can talk the most or yell the loudest, but it is in thoughtful response and in trying to create a “win-win” situation. Healthy families remain calm and understanding. And healthy families can suppress impulsiveness - especially the urge to yell, insult, or even insist on being right in a disagreement.
Self-Sacrifice Builds Families: The strength of the family depends not in personal interest but also in the interest of the others. Family is not always about “me”, it is really about “us”, and putting the family’s needs first is an important way to strengthen the family.
Being Quick to Forgive: To forgive and forget is a blessing for all the family. Resentment is a slow poison but one which can quickly corrode a family. The willingness to forgive is a cornerstone for family development.
Putting Others Ahead of Yourself: Perhaps the primary negative dynamic which disintegrates families is self-pride. Of all the risk factors for a marriage, pride (an inflated attitude or importance of self) is known to be the worse. It causes inflamed emotions, misinterpretations, negativity and resentment. In religion pride is named as one of the seven deadly sins, and in psychology therapists warn about the dangers of an inflated ego. In this culture people are brought up to believe they are more important than anyone else. In this culture people are taught that relationships are 50-50. But maybe relationships are 80-20, with YOU doing the 80 percent of the work. That way you'll never be disappointed. In a healthy family you see self-sacrifice, as a constant. You see a willingness to serve the others. You see consideration of others' needs first - similar to what a mother does for her baby. In healthy families members serve, rather than expect to be served.
In healthy families people are happy. Members overlook each others’ flaws, mistakes and bad tempers we all have. In healthy families people want to be helpful and pleasing, and in healthy families members follow a shared dream. Nurturing your family isn't work - it's a blessing.
The family is the cornerstone of society !
Family is a great gift. In fact, upon one’s deathbed a person looks back and instead of wishing they had worked more or made more money, he or she usually reflects upon how they interacted with and were cherished within the family. And that's all that every family wants and needs -- a high level of satisfaction and enjoyment. After all, that’s what families are all about.
In a family it’s not about “me,” it is really about “us.”
How important is family for a high quality of life?
Just ask anyone who does not have a family!