Healthy Families vs. Unhealthy Families (Part 2)

Hey guys, I’m back.. I’m going to start this article with a portion from an article I came across.

Most Common Fights are about the ‘Flight Plan’

How do you take a child that you have loved, cared for, taken care of and protected for their entire lifetime the right amount of space to ‘fly’ forward on their own wings? Let me warn you ahead of time, it’s often hard to find the right level of balance on this subject. Kids and parents often experience their greatest conflict during the teen years trying to figure out just the right level of responsibility and independence for each stage of life. Yet as hard as it may be for parents to even consider letting go of their kids, it is essential for the child’s healthy development and inner strength. One day they will have to move out and move on as a young adult to tackle issues on their own, without the security of knowing that mom and dad’s watchful care is always going to be near. The goal is for them to know what they believe, and when tested, to pass the test and live out those beliefs despite of the pressures around them.

Dangerous Truth: Over-Protective Parents Create Weaker Kids

Here’s why this is such a problem for some loving parents. If you never let a child test their wings by moving a little further away from mom or dad’s care, then sometimes they end up developing the symptoms of fear, extreme shyness or a social phobia and end up being afraid of moving forward in life. Not all kids will develop psychological or emotional fears because of overprotective parents, but it can be one of several factors that slow down their personal development and inner strength to move forward toward the next stage of life. Yes, we love our kids, but remember, part of that love is to equip them and prepare them to one day leave the nest to literally launch forward, just like a space shuttle launch sequence at Kennedy Space Center.

Think about all of the years of planning and thousands of challenges that have to be overcome to create a successful launch into space. Literally everything that takes place for the years leading up to a rocket or orbiter launch date is done to safely and strategically accomplish the goal of getting that rocket into space and to another place. That’s the driving force of those NASA engineers – to get that bird off the ground at Cape Canaveral and into orbit toward the stars.

By Dwight Bain

Now, I wanted to start with that because I want you to keep that in mind as I go into healthy family traits.. Which I will break down as I go

1. The members of the household are committed to one another.

This doesn’t mean they are fully dependent on one another. It simply means that as a family unit the family should be supportive and willing to do what it takes for the family and work together as a family unit. An unhealthy family will fudge this line and that commitment will turn into dependence.

Websters Definition of commitment is :

: A promise to do or give something

: A promise to be loyal to someone or something

: The attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something

Those bottom two being the ones that fit into a healthy commitment…

Websters Definition for dependence:

: A state of needing someone or something else for support, help, etc.

: The state of being addicted to alcohol or drugs

Now, if you ask me neither of those sound very good. Especially when we look at Websters multiple definitions for need:

: a situation in which someone or something must do or have something

: something that a person must have : something that is needed in order to live or succeed or be happy

: a strong feeling that you must have or do something

: a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism

I know I’m getting in depth here.. maybe a little more than necessary, but bear with me if you will.

I would find the definition for must and requirement but I think we’ve got the point. So all in all need is a forced thing, there’s no choice, and it has the potential to be life or death. You NEED air, water, and food to live.. Those are NEEDS..

A healthy family will recognize the difference and they will build on a healthy commitment.

2. A healthy family spends time together.

Spends time together. This doesn’t mean keeping everyone on a leash so they can’t do anything because we have to be together. It means we have healthy, enjoyable, time together. The strongest families have a healthy balance of time together and time away. In fact, studies show that parents who get away from their children and continue dating through marriage are much happier and have healthy bonds with both their spouse and children. Even so, it is important for spouses to get away from each other once in a while, even if it is just for a few hours while one is at work. It allows everyone to learn to function on their own. As well as making that time together more enjoyable and cherished.

3. A healthy family enjoys open, frequent communication.

It’s ok to listen to what your child/teen/young adult has to say. It helps builds bonds, creates a deeper sense of trust between both parent and child, simply because the parents will know what is going on in their childs life. No ones opinion should be disrespected, no question should be off limits or inappropriate. It’s simple enough for the parent to say “No, you don’t need to know that” do to it being for their own good. However, if they know they can ask or tell you anything your child will be eternally grateful.

4. The healthy family turns to each other during times of crisis.

Yes, in times of crisis a family should hold together and be there for each other. However, this goes back to that commitment vs. dependency. You should be able to trust that your family will be there, but it shouldn’t shift to having to be solely dependent on them being there.

5. Members of a healthy family can express affirmation and encouragement often.

Each individual should be able to be able to show/express a belief, dedication, or idea, with complete confidence. Unafraid of being negatively shot down for it. Guided, yes. Shot down, no. They should be encouraged to follow their dreams. Be it the spouse supporting the other, or the parents supporting the children. Each family member is a unique individual and were created that way because they have a purpose and when you shoot down the various ways of expression and don’t encourage them to be who they want to be it limits who they can be. It creates a dependence because they wont know what to do with their life.

6. The members of a healthy family share a spiritual commitment.

This is important. With God as the head of the household, the family will get much further.

7. Each person in a healthy household trusts the others and values the trust he/she has earned.

Trust, trust, trust, by being open with healthy communication and having that healthy commitment each person will earn an amount of trust that should not be toyed with or taken advantage of.

8. Each member of a healthy family can enjoy freedom and grace.

As the children get older and transition from kids to teens and teens to young adults, there is a new freedom that comes with each stage. No child should be expected to stay home. That is a dependence, because they never learn to operate on their own. They are dependent upon their parents and then they are lost in a world of hurt when the parents pass away. They are left confused, possibly scared. Unknowing of whether or not they are fully capable of caring for themselves, likely past the age of starting a family and left on their own for the most part. It isn’t even biblical for the children to stay home:

Matthew 19:4-5 (NIV)

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?

No individual in the family or in any relationship should have to fear making a mistake. They should be able to know that they will find grace, they will find forgiveness if and when they slip up or fall short of an expectation. I’ll be the first to admit I do have a problem with offering Grace and forgiveness after a certain point. But it is something I aim to change. As a young adult myself, I enjoy being around people that I have a freedom to say or think what I like knowing that it wont be taken offensively and if it is, I know that person will come back to me and allow me to try to fix it.

If you recall in my last post I said that Enmeshed and Codependent families look very similar on the surface to a healthy family… Do you see why?

Both require some form of dependency, but for a healthy family dependency doesn’t quite fit. More, so commitment. Along with that, care and control can look similar as well. But when you breech the surface you can see what looks like someone trying to take care of you, can also be them trying to keep you under their thumb.

Once more this goes for any relationship, be it friendship, partnership, or marriage. If you can find a person that holds the healthy qualities, you are already set up for a healthy relationship, family or friendship.

Alright y’all, I’m done now. I am pretty sure I have stepped on my own toes as well finding things that I’m guilty of doing in my own family… But this is why I write..

God Bless,

Jessica

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