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:
Being an adult in a healthy family means:
Being a child in a healthy family means:
The keys to creating a healthy family are communication and flexibility.
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. Family members approach problems with an open mind, listen without judging, and share their feelings. This makes it safe to speak openly. These communication skills take practice.
Emotional flexibility includes being able to laugh at yourself and being able to play.
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 be emotionally flexible. Here are some signs that your family may be in trouble:
The first step is for everyone in the family to agree to try to make things better. The next step might be to get a book on families and healthy communication at the library or bookstore. Finally, there is family counseling. You can learn new ways to communicate, to work through problems, and to relate to one another.