It takes some adjusting to live in a family. Like changing your attitudes about children and the kitchen. My philosophy now is -- if it walks out of the refrigerator, let it go! Some people never
make the adjustments. George Burns used to say, "Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city." But for most of us, happiness is making the most of our family life, in whatever form and shape that family exists.
Family consultant Dolores Curran published what she considered "Traits of a Healthy Family" (Winston Press), drawn from responses of more than 500 professionals who work with families.
Here are a few of the top qualities shared by families considered "healthy."
- Communication and listening. I find that this is something families have to work at almost continually.
- Affirmation and support. A southern (USA) migrant worker told a sociologist that "home is a place to go back to if things get rough out there." If you cannot receive affirmation at home, where else are you going to get it? A good practice for parents is to try to catch your kids doing something right every day and telling them so. Think of the possibilities...
- A sense of play. Charlie Shedd says, "Whenever parents ask me, 'How can I keep my children off drugs?' I say, 'Have fun.'"
- Shared responsibility. Everyone helps out; everyone pitches in.
- Trust. The fastest way to drive a wedge between family members is to violate trust.
- Shared religious core. Does your family share similar spiritual goals?
Follow these six traits to make the most of your family life!
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