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Posted by on Oct 4, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

Reassess Your Influence And Values For A Healthier Family Unit

Today, many families find themselves in dysfunctional relationships. If you feel like your family has lost sight of good relationships, you’ll want to seek out therapy. But if your goals are to be successful in family therapy, you must reassess and restore your understanding of family values, and how to be a positive influence.

Understading Values of a Healthy Family

Many things could be said to specifically spell out what a healthy family should look like. However, when you boil it down, two main characteristics rise to the top: love and respect.


The problem with love is that it has been greatly distorted and misunderstood over time. The love that’s needed in families is not always expressed as an intense, happy emotion. In fact, even healthy families sometimes don’t like things their members do, and find themselves angry and upset.

Rather, the type of love present in a healthy family is a deep, lasting commitment to one another. This commitment brings with it a willingness to work out problems as they arise. Loving homes are safe places to mess up and learn from one’s mistakes. Love seeks to build others up, not tear them down. It is honoring, not shaming. Love sees the best in people, yet isn’t afraid to acknowledge their shortcomings. It celebrates its members’ abilities while strengthening them in their areas of weakness.


While love is the underlying motive in a healthy family, respect defines its members’ interactions. The bottom line when it comes to respect is the golden rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” (Matthew 7:12). Though this idea is taken from the Bible, it is solid practice regardless of religious beliefs.

Respect shows itself in everything you say and do. In fact, it’s often the small things you do that communicate respect. Couples respect one another by making time to connect despite a busy schedule. Parents respect children by allowing them to try new things and develop their abilities. Children show respect for parents by following their rules. These are just a few ways respect can be shown.

Cultivating Love and Respect

Once you have a clear idea of love and respect, the next logical question is, “How do you get there?” Checking out can help, and so will going to therapy. However, the bulk of the work will take place at home. Here are a few thoughts about cultivating an environment of love and respect.

Time is Essential

It is impossible to improve any relationship without spending quality time. Spending time together as a family tells its members that each of them, and the family as a unit, is important. Time can be spent doing an activity or simply enjoying a meal and catching up. The important point is that you’re together, and focused on one another.

Have Fun Together

There are times when you’ll need to let go of the stresses of life and simply play. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that play is not only vital for a child’s cognitive development but for their relationship development. Children are excellent at play, but typically, adults struggle in this area. Especially after a crisis in your relationships, the temptation is to take life too seriously. The hard stuff must be dealt with, but fun can go a long way in relieving stress and making hard things easier.

Leaders Lead by Example

When families are in crisis, parents have to be willing to lead by example. They must be the first to say they’re sorry and make things right. They must be the ones to end destructive behaviors and start to learn new ones. When love and respect are modeled by leadership, family dynamics start to change.

Healthy families are ones that show love and respect toward one another. They interact in ways that demonstrate commitment and value of family members and the unit. This is the ideal to which therapists can strive to bring their clients as they seek to bring healing and restoration to families.

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