How to create a strong family?

For mental health or family health, it may not be easy to differentiate what is normal (healthy) vs abnormal (unhealthy).

By the time we realized that something is wrong, it may be too late. It is like the analogy of a frog in a boiling water.

Frog in boiling water

However, if we acknowledge the problem and switch gear to damage control mode, there is always hope.  It would be a much greater problem when we do not realize or are not aware that there is a problem.  We may be in the state of denial.

Professor John D. DeFrain and Professor Nick Stinnett have outlined 6 basic characteristics of healthy family functioning in the American Family Strengths Inventory.

  • Enjoyable time together (fun)

  • Appreciation and affection (love) for each other

  • Communicating effectively with each other

  • Valuing (Respecting) each other and demonstrating commitment

  • Managing stress and crisis effectively (Resilience)

  • Spiritual well being

I would summarize it as having love, respect, fun and resilience as a family. There must be openness and free flow communication among each other. Having common value system or spiritual belief is certainly an additional strength.

And I certainly find it help to conduct periodical review of these factors. Enjoy!

Click here for American Family Strengths Inventory or PDF

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