When you think of family relationships the word family conjures up feelings and emotions like no other word. Sometimes the feeling is warm, and sometimes the word “family” just tires us out. We all have parents, siblings, children and grandparents to deal with, not to mention in-laws, those people who can add a whole new dimension of happiness or dread to our lives. We all have family relationships, and we all sometimes struggle to work through challenges. But we can all find ways to make our family relationships more rewarding, offering ways for each member to feel loved and valued every day
What is the key to good family relationships?
There are several factors that lead to good family relationships, including: open communication, general respect, acknowledgement and respect for differences in personality and opinions, appreciation and effort. Let’s take a look at each:
Open communication – This is essential, and often difficult to achieve, but communicating openly, with active listening is extremely important in cultivating good, healthy family relationships, whether between spouses, parents and children or siblings.
Genuine respect – Showing respect for another individual is the best way of telling that person that you honor them and care about them. Respect is shown when we allow the other person to speak their mind, even if we don’t agree. Paying attention to and honoring requests, such as a need for alone time, can also show respect. And respect is shown when, even during an argument, we restrain from using hurtful language and name-calling.
Acknowledgement of and respect for differences – Everyone in your family is not going to think the same, feel the same or want the same. This often causes issues when religion or other sensitive topics come up. Even young children sometimes are different than parents in personality or they may not enjoy the same activities. It’s important to be OK with differences. With adult members of your family, you are sure to find differences with respect to politics, religion, and opinions on how to spend money, and any number of other issues. In healthy family relationships, these differences are noted and respected.
Appreciation – Everyone wants to feel that they are appreciated for who they are and the things they do, whether it’s grandma or your three year old. Find ways to let them know that you like who they are and that they are special. If you don’t like grandma because she’s grouchy, do your best to send blessings her way anyway.
Effort – All good family relationships require effort. If you wish to see your family relationships thrive, you must put forth an effort. That means different things depending on your family dynamic, but it’s not difficult to tell what type of effort is needed.
Family relationships are sometimes tricky, sometimes disappointing, and sometimes very joyful. If you and your family are committed to building a healthy family relationship, you will find ways to work together to build fulfilling ties that make each member feel valued and loved. Make your family relationships fantastic and joyful.