When it comes to healthy family dynamics, it’s helpful to learn from positive models. According to Dennis Lynn, PhD, who teaches Human Development and Family Sciences at the OSU Cascades campus, the Family Strengths Research Project, based at the University of Nebraska, offers good insights into healthy families. Results of research have been used with over 20,000 families in more than 20 countries around the world and reveal that:
- Strong families express appreciation and affection. They speak in positive and affirming ways and express the love they have for each other.
- Strong families have a strong commitment to each other. They are deeply committed to promoting each others’ happiness and welfare and show their commitment by investing time and energy in family activities.
- Strong families spend enjoyable time together. They enjoy being together and know that if they don’t prioritize and schedule time together, it won’t happen. Sometimes, love is spelled t-i-m-e.
- Strong families manage stress and crisis effectively. They are not immune or exempt from difficult days and challenging situations, but they develop strategies so they can pull together rather than fall apart.
- Strong families have a sense of spiritual well-being. Whatever the expression of their spiritual lifestyle, there are consistent themes of guiding values and ethics, as well as commitment to important causes.
- Strong families have effective and positive communication patterns. They talk to each other and listen to each other and may have specific ground rules on how they communicate with each other in respectful, loving ways.