Strong Families: What are they? How do they work
What are strong families? Why they are important
A few things are common to strong families:
- Warmth, love, and positive attention
- Good communication
- A predictable family environment
- Connections to people outside of the family
Children can feel safe and secure in their families, which allows them to discover who they are. Children who feel loved and secure are more likely to be able to explore the world and try new things. They can cope better with setbacks and challenges because they know that they have support from their families.
Strong families are built on warmth, care and positive attention.
Being affectionate, warm, and caring with your child will help build strong relationships with your family.
Building strong relationships within your family requires positive attention. This is how you show interest in your children’s work and take pleasure in their accomplishments. Positive attention builds trust and shows children you are available for them when they need you.
Tips for creating warmth, care, and positive attention
These are some ideas to create warmth, love and positive attention within your family.
- Tell your children how much they mean to you and find ways to show them that you are proud of them.
- When you speak to your children, smile and look in their eyes.
- When you can, show affection.
- Please encourage your family members when they do something good or kind. “Harriet, thank you for unpacking the dishwasher today – it was a great help” is one example.
- You can create opportunities for one-on-one, special time doing things that you all love. Make this time a part of your family’s routine.
Warm, caring, and affectionate children are more likely to get along with their teachers and other children. Children who are treated with affection and attention feel special and can cope better with life’s challenges.
Strong families require good communication.
Strong families can communicate well about both good and bad things. They can share good times and talk about their problems when they are bad. It provides a safe space for children to express their feelings of shame, confusion, embarrassment and shame. It strengthens the relationships between family members.
These are some ways to encourage communication within your family.
- Encourage family members and friends to communicate with each other.
- Family meals should be shared as often as possible at the table, with the TV off. This is an opportunity to share your life.
- Children should learn how to use words to express their feelings and thoughts.
- Listen and respond sensitively to all sorts of situations. Not only should you be happy or receive good news or nice things, but also angry or sad. It doesn’t mean that you have to fix the problem or offer advice.
- Learn how to negotiate so that everyone gets their part.
- Your nonverbal communication is what you should be focusing on. You can use nonverbal communication such as smiles and eye contact to show affection to strengthen your relationships.
Your communication with others and children is a key indicator of good communication. You can demonstrate this by managing conflict and solving problems together. Your children will learn valuable life skills when they see you resolving problems calmly and respectfully.
Strong families have predictable environments.
Children will feel more secure, safe and well-taken care of if their family is organized. Children will know what to expect every day and what they can do to help them.
When children are experiencing developmental challenges, uncertainty, or other difficulties, predictability is good for their families. Your family might find it comforting to have a regular evening routine at home, especially if your child is starting school.
These are some tips to create a family environment that is safe and predictable.
- To make sure everyone is on the same page, create a family schedule. This will let them know what to expect, who should do what and when, and how often. You can make it easier to spend time with your children or for family activities.
- Your family values should be emphasized. This could include love, respect, acceptance and support. Family rituals and family rules can ensure that everyone knows what’s important in your family.
Routines are helpful for children with disabilities, especially those who struggle to cope with change.
Strong families and connections to others
Children need to be connected with other people who care about them. Your extended family, friends and your community are all valuable connections.
Children can develop a strong sense of themselves through connections. They feel more at home in their family, with their cousins or grandchildren, and in their local community.
When times are difficult, other important adults can support the family.
Helping out in the community or volunteering can help children feel more connected to their community. One example is volunteering with a local conservation organization.
Tips for connecting your family with others
These are some ideas to connect your family with others.
- Please encourage your children’s grandparents to visit them. You can talk to them by phone, email, or video call if they are far away.
- Participate in your local sports or community club. It gives your kids the opportunity to meet new people and see how community members work together.
- Invite your grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, or family friends to school events or sporting events that are important for your children, such as an awards ceremony or performance.
Parents should also be connected to their families, friends, and communities. A support network of trusted adults can be an invaluable resource – such as when your child needs someone to pick them up from school. You can also get emotional support from your network when you feel overwhelmed or need advice.
Looking after yourself
You might neglect to take care of yourself while focusing on your family. You’ll be able to create a strong family if you make time for yourself.
Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, engaging in physical activity, eating healthy food, and enjoying your relationship with your partner (if you have one).