Healthy Families

What is a healthy family?

In the past, a family has been thought of as 2 parents raising children. Today’s families come in all shapes and sizes. Whether or not there are 2 adults, healthy families:

  • Communicate clearly
  • Spend time together as a family and do things together, including chores and fun activities
  • Support each other and show that they care about each other

Being an adult in a healthy family means:

  • Being a loving partner, whether or not there are children
  • Setting rules and limits for children to teach them right from wrong, how to share, to stand up for their own rights, and how to love another person
  • Showing that you love and support your children
  • Supporting the family financially
  • Being a good example for the children
  • Taking care of your children’s mental and physical health.
  • Making the family a priority

Being a child in a healthy family means:

  • Playing and sharing in household duties
  • Learning how to work out conflicts with others
  • Learning how to love self and others

What are the keys to creating a healthy family?

The keys to creating a healthy family are communication and support.

Communication includes:

  • Talking regularly to other family members
  • Using praise and positive talk to shape behavior
  • Talking about issues, which helps family members learn how to manage differences of opinion
  • Taking time to sit down as a family and talk about the events of the day or week

Some families use mealtime as the time to talk. Others set up a regular “family meeting” time to air their issues together. It is important that this time not be interrupted by the TV, phone calls, or other distractions. The focus of this time is talking and listening. Everyone should have a chance to speak. Effective communication focuses on “I” statements. An “I” statement tells what the speaker thinks and feels without blaming another person. Good communicators do not put down others. They actively listen to others, which involves making eye contact, asking questions, and repeating to make sure you have understood what others are saying. Support includes:

  • Letting children help with household chores. Small children can help set the table, clear dishes, take the trash out, and feed the dog. Older children can help with housework, take care of the garden, and wash their own clothes.
  • Saying thank you and praising efforts – not just results.
  • Showing that you trust each other to make good decisions.
  • Attending events such as sports, school plays, or award dinners together.
  • Approaching problems with an open mind, with the goal of helping one another.

What are signs of trouble?

Life can be stressful. Trying to balance work, school, and home, and reach personal goals can cause problems for families. Many families need help to communicate and support each other. Here are some signs that your family may be in trouble:

  • Behaving in ways that cause problems for other family members, such as abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Feeling like everyday routines are just too much
  • Not talking to each other or avoiding each other
  • Constantly blaming or insulting each other and not treating other people with respect

You can learn new ways to communicate, to work through problems, and to relate to one another. Ask your healthcare provider or a family therapist for help.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-08-03
Last reviewed: 2014-04-28
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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