It seems like everything is always changing – technology, the latest trends in healthy eating, the best exercise routine of the year, etc. Then I came across this blog post I wrote from 2009 and realized that not much, in fact, nothing at all has changed when it comes to the 15 traits shared by healthy families (and my work was done by simply changing the year to 2016). It’s not rocket science – it’s common sense that we all have, I think sometimes we just need a little reminder that we know what we are doing and we need trust ourselves. There is a lot of peace in knowing that these 15 traits will likely be the same when I check back on this post again in another 5 years. Have a read and then go ahead and give yourself a big pat on the back as I am sure you are already doing many of these….
Happy Holidays! I imagine a lot of you will be making New Year’s resolutions tonight. I was thinking how ambitious and yet ambiguous “have a better family life” is as an actual goal to set. How would you know if you did “better” in 2016 as a family? That’s when I remembered some interesting research on healthy families by Curran and Dolores. They discovered that healthy families have 15 similar attributes. Here they are:
15 Traits Shared by Healthy Families
- Communicates and listens
- Validates and supports each other
- Teaches respect for others
- Develops trust
- Has a healthy sense of humor and has fun
- Shares responsibilities
- Teaches a sense of right and wrong
- Has a strong sense of family, with rituals and traditions
- Balances the interactions among members
- Has a shared religious core (I’ll have to write more on my thoughts about this later)
- Respects the privacy of each other
- Values service to others
- Promotes family meal time with conversation
- Shares leisure time
- Admits to and seeks help with problems
(Curran, Dolores Traits of a Healthy Family, Winston Press, 1983)
If these traits were subjects on a report card, how did you do for each in 2015? If you wanted to improve your grade in each subject area for 2016, what would you need to do? Can you turn those thoughts into concrete, measurable action steps? What will it look like when you reach your goal?
Hopefully with some imagination and using these 15 traits as starting place, you’ll be able to set some really concrete and attainable goals for your family life in the year ahead.
Happy New Year and may you have a joyous year ahead!