Your family healthy supercharged

Your Family – Healthy or Supercharged?

The tragedies of Littleton and Georgia force parents to reevaluate their thinking. One area where their ideas are challenged is that of what makes a healthy family. Contemporary American culture idealizes the ‘supercharged’ family. The recent school tragedies have upset cultural ideas about family. The ‘supercharged family’ has met reality head-on. The reality is, they are not emotionally stable. Just because a family is active, does not make it healthy.

The first step toward emotionally healthy families is seceding from the mindless materialism and vulgarity of contemporary American society. Once this step is completed, parents can focus on changing the family. Change begins with family members talking with each other and spending time together. Just because the home is peaceful does not mean it is healthy.

The second step is realizing that having an emotionally healthy family is a process. It occurs gradually and is something the family members work to achieve and maintain. Family health, like physical health can deteriorate. Healthy functioning requires effort, yet becomes a rewarding way of life

Following are characteristics of healthy families. These characteristics are achievable through effort by the parents and children. They are achieved a little at a time, yet are well worth the effort.

Members of healthy families show their feelings with each other in a non-threatening manner. Anger is expressed without attacking. They do not perceive criticism as a personal attack. Problems are worked through rather than avoided or turned into opportunities for the family to fragment.

The members give trust and acceptance. Rules and expectations are clear and consistent. Communication is open and direct rather than filled with hidden loyalties and secrets. Changes are tolerated, and family members are willing to live with the unchangeable. Being that they are secure in their identity, people and ideas that are different are not seen as threats. The family members are accountable to each other and the moral code of their beliefs. Healthy families also worship and share spiritual growth together. The family is held together with a cohesion of loyalty, love and tradition rather than force, guilt and fear.

Growth and achievements are celebrated within healthy families. Such events are not viewed as threatening, but as successes shared among the members. Events such as birthdays and holidays are enjoyed rather than dreaded. Parents make themselves available to their children. Even in their availability, the parents remain in the parent role and do not attempt becoming the child’s ‘best friend’.

The family often serves as the shock absorber to changes in society. An emotionally healthy family will provide a smoother ride for its members and the community. Striving for healthy families is an investment of time and effort whose return exceeds that of the stock exchange. Families, like any endeavor provides rewards commensurate to the time and effort spent in maintenance.