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6 Characteristics of a Healthy Family

To understand what is unhealthy, we first have to define what is healthy.


KEY POINTS
While each family is different, there are some common elements that can contribute to a healthy family environment.
Respecting opinions and personal needs, as well as showing respect, are all part of healthy family systems.
In isolation, one or more of these characteristics not being a part of your family is not in itself dysfunctional.
Whenever I conduct trainings or start working with clients who are beginning their journey in recovery from family trauma, I like to go over some basic characteristics of healthy families. If we do not know what is healthy, it's difficult to identify what was unhealthy.
These may sound easy to identify, but in truth, many of us are unaware of what makes a family healthy—or normal. Words like “healthy” or “unhealthy” have become so commonplace, but few of us could describe the characteristics required to use these words in relation to families. Thus, I focus on these six to give a foundational understanding to build from.

Here are six common characteristics of healthy families or social systems:

1. Respecting healthy emotional and physical boundaries: Children and other family members have privacy, and all members understand and respect that. In healthy families, parents do most of the emotional work with their children by modeling empathy, self-control, and appropriate behaviors in response to emotions or stress. The role of children is to learn.

2. Seeing each family member as an individual with an opinion: Everyone is allowed to have an opinion and all family members should respect and allow those opinions to be expressed as long as they are respectful, even if adults make the final decision. In families where there is little room for differing opinions, it is common for children to grow up into adults who do not know who they are. When you are always taught how and what to think, it is normal to not know how to do this for yourself.

3. Setting consistent, fair, and age-appropriate rules and expectations: All families have rules and it would be normal to find homes with different sets, but rules that are inconsistent or not age-appropriate create an environment of confusion and chaos. Children are still growing and learning, so a caregiver’s expectations of them should not be the same as their expectations of themselves or other adults.

4. Meeting each person’s needs appropriately: All members are concerned with the health and well-being of others, but in an age-appropriate way. Parents provide emotional care for the children; not the other way around. As best as they can, other members also seek to meet their other family members' needs.

5. All members of the family feel safe and secure: Children in a healthy family feel safe learning, growing, and making mistakes. They have a healthy understanding of mistakes and understand that they will not challenge or threaten their security or safety. Love is unconditional.

6. Expecting mistakes and forgiving them in a healthy way: The family members understand that we are all humans learning and growing. Conflict is handled in an appropriate and safe way, with adults modeling appropriate ways to manage disagreements and disputes. These families explore mistakes to understand and improve, instead of shaming people for them. Children understand that they will be punished for unacceptable behavior, but that they will also be forgiven for making mistakes, instead of having them held against them for years after.
Take a moment to think about your family history and if you remember any of the above characteristics. Often, people who experienced family-of-origin trauma will not have these experiences. This list can just give you an idea—if none of them took place in your home, that might be a sign that things were at least somewhat unhealthy.

In isolation, one or more of the above characteristics not being a part of your family of origin is not in itself dysfunctional. For example, different households might have different ideas about whether and how the children can express their opinions based on individual family dynamics, like culture, generation, and other factors. All of the above items do not have to exist together, either, for a family to be healthy.
33 replies
  1. Monir Vakili
    Monir Vakili says:

    In my opinion, the family is the most important part in completing the growth process of a person. The first place that a person faces is the family environment. A healthy family is the most important environment for raising healthy and cheerful children, and healthy children are a healthy society and They form dynamic. Thanks for this useful article

    Reply
  2. Kimiya khoshbin
    Kimiya khoshbin says:

    To have a healthy family, all members should be together and have good management, they should try to improve the family, spend time together, love each other, learn responsibility and accept each other.

    Reply
  3. Mobina Mohammadinia
    Mobina Mohammadinia says:

    Hello, family definitely plays an important role, we should try to respect the opinion of other members in the family in order to have a healthier mind and body.

    Reply
  4. Mobina Mohammadinia
    Mobina Mohammadinia says:

    Hello, in my opinion, the family becomes meaningful when each other’s opinion is respected and there is a friendly atmosphere between the members. We must be aware of the impact of society on society.

    Reply
  5. Sara ebadi
    Sara ebadi says:

    Sara ebadi
    In my opinion, families that respect these principles or actually respect emotional boundaries, set fair rules and expectations, or actually do not put pressure on family members, and each person in the family has an informed opinion and decides for them. They don’t take it and meet the needs of each person appropriately, and the family members feel safe in it, and the family does not expect them to be wrong, they will train healthy and more efficient people for the society.

    Reply
  6. Anis Farasat
    Anis Farasat says:

    If family members have a good and close relationship with each other, children can instead of running away from their true selves and pretending to be someone other than themselves, talk to their families about their problems and feelings without fear, worry and stress about their family’s reaction.

    Reply
  7. Sahel nafary
    Sahel nafary says:

    One of the important issues in the relationship between family members is to respect each other’s emotions, personality and opinions. One of the conditions that makes good communication between the members of my family of 4 is that some days and nights we spend many hours talking about our interests and desires and each other’s and asking for opinions and sharing experiences. We dedicate ourselves to each other and to know each other more completely. And in the family, everyone has the same right to give an opinion and participate in the conversation on various issues, and they can make decisions by mutual agreement.

    Reply
  8. هدیه معصومی
    هدیه معصومی says:

    This article shows that in order to have a healthy family, we must respect each other’s opinions and beliefs and consult each other on various issues. In order to have a healthy family, it is better to treat everyone according to their age and do the boosters and retarders accordingly. A healthy family has rules that all family members follow.

    Reply
  9. Fateme Kamandi
    Fateme Kamandi says:

    Since the family is the main platform for the growth of every person, the role of the family in life should be taken seriously and parents should try to provide this platform well for their children.

    Reply
  10. iliyamojir
    iliyamojir says:

    Healthy families enjoy healthy freedom. This freedom is evident in seeing, hearing, thinking, believing, feeling, wanting and choosing. The intimacy that prevails in these families makes them express different opinions regardless of the opinions of others. In this situation, people have the right to have different opinions and to think the same. Individuality of members’ thoughts is valued.

    Reply
  11. fatemeh noorzadeh
    fatemeh noorzadeh says:

    Hello sir,
    Well this article was really useful. I’ll use it and also recommend it to who I know.
    Because I think it’s something important for anybody who wants to make a family. And know about them. Because with these recommendations for sure there will be a healthy family.

    Reply
  12. Mona javid
    Mona javid says:

    Dear teacher, people’s opinions on healthy or unhealthy families are completely different, sometimes even the opinion of children and parents are different, because in most families, the way of thinking of children is also different from that of parents due to lack of mutual understanding.

    Reply
  13. Mohadeseh mohseni
    Mohadeseh mohseni says:

    Ain my opinion Spending quality time together is essential for a healthy family. This can include activities such as eating meals together, playing games, or going on outings.

    Reply
  14. Mohadeseh mohseni
    Mohadeseh mohseni says:

    I think also sense of humor can help families cope with stress and maintain a positive outlook on life.

    Reply
  15. Mohadeseh mohseni
    Mohadeseh mohseni says:

    To me A healthy family communicates openly and honestly with each other.with respect and trust

    Reply
  16. Mobina Mokhtari
    Mobina Mokhtari says:

    Hello master ,
    It was amazing , I’ll think about all of the items many times again and I’m gonna use them ( I’ll try to ). Because I think all of them are necessary for a healthy family like. Having safety , feeling of acceptance, being heard , accept changes of likes and dislikes between different characters , meeting the needs of family members, loving unconditionally, and forgiving they are all needed for a healthy family. And also healthy children grow in these types of families.

    Reply
    • کیمیا احمدوند
      کیمیا احمدوند says:

      Hello teacher, good day. As it was said, every family is different, but there are some common elements that can help the family to be healthy. One of the most important ones is the privacy of the family members, which should be understood, respected and asked for opinions. From family members who make a person more confident and better acquainted with his personality in the future. Finally, thank you for your useful content.

      Reply
  17. Davood galedari
    Davood galedari says:

    Considering that the mentioned items are very important, it should be noted that the right of a healthy family will be formed in the context of a healthy society and proper training of the members.

    Reply
  18. Darya Ghaderi
    Darya Ghaderi says:

    When we learn to respect opinions and interests in our family, which is a small community for us, it makes us have boundaries in the society, and also the people around us feel relaxed that they are not judged by us and they are no longer They do not allow themselves to interfere with our opinions.

    Reply
  19. nasrin shojaee
    nasrin shojaee says:

    Family is the first and most important institution in which we are present. If there are healthy behaviors and correct relationships in this institution, we will have better growth and development to enter other institutions such as society.And for the future life of ourselves and our children, we can behave better to have a healthy family in the future

    Reply
  20. Fatemeh khorsandfard
    Fatemeh khorsandfard says:

    Hello dear professor
    Thank you for comprehensive and useful explanations
    In my opinion, when we grow in healthy family, we learn how living, how succeed and how fighting. And we achieve a lot of good or bad experience.

    Reply
  21. Nadia Norouzi
    Nadia Norouzi says:

    Hi,I hope you will be fine
    Exactly
    And in my opinion, the most important thing in any family should be that there should be no discrimination between family members, which is the root of all problems.

    Reply
  22. hamidreza taheri
    hamidreza taheri says:

    in my opinion the most important thing about a healthy family is the support of them for you cause when they support you , its a very helpful and uceful thing to get a lots of energy

    Reply
    • زهرا بابائی
      زهرا بابائی says:

      I read it several times and sent it to two or three of my friends. I am very interested in reading your content

      Reply
  23. Shirin farrokh
    Shirin farrokh says:

    The most important thing is that when a person grows up in an unhealthy family, the learned behaviors are transferred to the next family. We must learn how to stop this unhealthy transfer.

    Reply
  24. Fateme Alijanpoor
    Fateme Alijanpoor says:

    Hello dear professor. Thank you for this excellent and useful article. This type of content is useful most of the time, of course, if families follow it and can create a healthy environment for the development of their children’s personality.

    Reply
  25. leila asghari asl
    leila asghari asl says:

    Hi. It was great, Professor, I used it. I think that the family is a place where all its members can have peace together. Family members should learn that any problem that occurs can be solved through dialogue and mutual understanding, and all together. They will solve that problem and none of the members should be afraid of being judged, that is, this fear should not be created in the family environment so that there is no feeling of insecurity in the family.

    Reply
  26. leila asghari asl
    leila asghari asl says:

    Hi it was great, Professor, I used it. I think that the family is a place where all its members can have peace together. Family members should learn that any problem that occurs can be solved through dialogue and mutual understanding, and all together. They will solve that problem and none of the members should be afraid of being judged, that is, this fear should not be created in the family environment so that there is no feeling of insecurity in the family.

    Reply
  27. leila asghari asl
    leila asghari asl says:

    It was great, Professor, I used it. I think that the family is a place where all its members can have peace together. Family members should learn that any problem that occurs can be solved through dialogue and mutual understanding, and all together. They will solve that problem and none of the members should be afraid of being judged, that is, this fear should not be created in the family environment so that there is no feeling of insecurity in the family.
    ليلا اصغري اصل،دانشگاه مجازي ايرانيان

    Reply
  28. leila asghari asl
    leila asghari asl says:

    It was very good teacher, I used it, in my opinion, the family is a place where all its members should have peace together. The family members should learn that any problem that occurs can be solved by talking and understanding each other and everyone together. They will solve that problem and none of the members should be afraid of being judged, that is, this fear should not be created in the family environment so that the feeling of insecurity does not arise in the family.
    leila asghari asl*iranian virtual university

    Reply
  29. Farzaneh jornabian
    Farzaneh jornabian says:

    The contents were very useful. In my opinion, a healthy family is a family that respects opinions and opinions and does not reject them quickly.

    Reply
  30. Bahar Javid
    Bahar Javid says:

    Hello dear professor Your article about the family and its members was very good. What I learned from this discussion is respecting the rights of family members and each other and… Thank you for your unique content.

    Reply

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