What do you think of when you hear the word “family?” You may consider your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Some of you might mention cousins, yet others would say a close friend or neighbor. The definition of family is individual, and each is important.
No matter who you include, we all share one thing. Family includes people we love and those who love us; those we are connected to through a shared history and experience. When we include people in our definition who are not related to us, they are sometimes referred to as an intentional family. Michigan State University Extension suggests taking a moment to think about who you include in your family, as each of these people play an important role in your life and the lives of your children.
All families have challenges, strengths and areas where they can grow. Family is not about who is in your family or who you consider family as much as it is about how your family functions. Strong families appear in different ways, shapes and forms. Families can include single parents, two parent families, grandparents raising grandchildren, foster parents and others.
Researchers from the University of Nebraska conducted a study on the characteristics of strong families and they recognize six major qualities that strong families share. These common characteristics all contribute to family happiness and strength.