Happy Holidays! I imagine a lot of you will be making New Year’s resolutions. I was thinking about how ambitious and yet ambiguous something like “have a better family life” is as a goal to set. How would you know if you did “better” in 2013 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 background (I’ll have to write more on my thoughts about this later)
- Respects the privacy of each other
- Values service to others
- Promotes family meals 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 2013?
If you wanted to improve your grade in each subject area for 2014, 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!
About the Author:
Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine. Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”. She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.