Family dynamics can be tricky to understand. When your kids are young, they love you unconditionally. As they grow up, the dynamics change depending on how everyone grows through life’s joys and challenges.
It’s OK to wonder if your loved ones are in a good place. Every family has its ups and downs, but there are always things you can work on to strengthen your relationships.
Read about these seven common traits to learn what makes a strong family. They may encourage and push you to achieve more together, bringing everyone closer with each passing year.
1. They Express Emotion Freely
Young children have no problem expressing their emotions. They cry when they’re upset and laugh loudly when they’re overjoyed. When they get older, they might struggle with being so open around other people. Parents often hold back their emotions out of fear of not looking like they’re in charge.
Holding in emotions isn’t healthy for anyone. Experts encourage parents to release bottled-up feelings in healthy ways so teens have an emotional role model. Talk openly and honestly. Don’t reprimand them for expressing their anger unless they get violent or mean-spirited.
When everyone feels emotionally safe at home, the environment becomes a better place for those relationships to thrive.
2. They Enjoy Quality Time
Families should enjoy spending quality time together. Even if the kids groan when you announce a game night, the energy in the room should flow freely once you get started.
Past events may cause tension between some family members. If there’s lingering resentment or underlying issues, find effective conflict resolutions by working together in a neutral setting. Approach the conversation with openness, avoid getting defensive and listen closely to your child’s needs to get to the bottom of the situation.
3. They Work as a Team
When your family faces a new problem, do you work together to fix it? Managing stress together by putting each other first teaches your children about essential leadership and problem-solving skills.
Teach your kids how to cooperate and talk things out. Support each other in your victories and talk about your challenges together. Establishing a strong foundation of openness and trust results in a team spirit that holds everyone together.
4. They’re Spiritually Connected
Families don’t have to follow the same religious philosophy to become stronger, but it helps to share core values. Religions and belief systems drive personal and family growth. Everyone can work together to reach goals like extending kindness toward others or supporting each other through difficulties.
If your family isn’t religious, don’t feel pressured to jump into an organized community you disagree with. Instead, think about the core beliefs you want for your family, such as:
- Unconditional acceptance
- Unrelenting kindness
- Helping others
Surround your family with people who share these beliefs. Talk about them with your children and show how to apply them in real life to create a spiritual foundation.
5. They’re Committed to Each Other
People feel loved when the people closest to them support their goals. Whenever your kids talk about what they want to do, nurture big and small goals so they know they’re not alone. Sign them up for sports teams that interest them or invent opportunities for them to express their creativity.
Judging personal beliefs makes a strong family crumble. Find those shared values and celebrate them so everyone grows closer together.
6. They Emphasize Communication
Communication is the secret to success in any relationship. When you feel like you don’t understand your teen or talk freely with your kids, explore different communication styles to speak with them on their level.
They may respond better to direct statements or more time between arguments and resolutions. Working on understanding each other shows your commitment and love for each other. Pay attention to how your children talk amongst themselves and learn more about body language so nothing stops you from becoming a unified family.
7. They Laugh Together
People become confident in their relationship when they share happy memories and a sense of humor. Strong families laugh together often. Whether it’s over game night debacles or cheesy puns, laughter unites everyone and fosters a joyful home.
Consider Your Family
You’ll know what makes a strong family after you consider the dynamics within your own. Think about if past events separate you emotionally. Weigh your communication styles and how everything’s going in your kids’ personal lives.
Time, patience and practice will help you establish and strengthen these traits so your family becomes closer than ever.