The healthiest and most stable environment for children is a two-parent (mom and dad) family. Unfortunately, in today’s culture I must define what I mean by a two-parent (mom and dad) family. This is a family that contains a biological woman and a biological male operating as parents in their natural and scientific roles and void of confusion as to the definition of men and women (male and female).
Healthy homes produce healthy children who can then thrive not only today, but throughout their entire lives. Healthy family relationships can:
· Strengthen stress coping mechanisms.
· Increase self-confidence.
· Breed a sense of security that allows learning and growth at greater levels.
· Reduce risky, unhealthy, and unnatural lifestyle choices.
· Help children choose better friends and social relationships.
· Help children develop better character and integrity traits.
· Create a foundation for trusting relationships.
With that said, there is no healthier environment for a child that one who is raised in a home with a mom and dad. Certainly, there are exceptions. No one can deny that there are homes that are failing. Children that grow up in toxic homes suffer tremendous damage emotionally, mentally, and physically. The sad statistic is that “research indicates that 10% to 30% of children grow up in families where their health and well-being are endangered or weakened by unhealthy family relationships,” (Very Well Mind, How to Have Healthy Family Relationships with Less Stress).
There is probably no more important structure on the planet than the family. It is our first line of defense and support. Our first line of defense and support is not the church or government. It is family. Family is most effective and efficient when performed God’s way. So, what does a healthy family look like?
Love. Healthy families don’t just say they love one another, they demonstrate it. They support one another, keep promises, and encourage one another. They consistently verbalize and show their love for one another.
Loyal. Healthy families are loyal to one another. Their word is their bond. You can trust they are truthful, honest, and supportive.
Lift. Healthy families lift one another up. They don’t complain or criticize, but they encourage and correct in love with grace. Name calling, bashing, or put downs are not allowed. These things breed tremendous emotional abuse.
Laugh. Healthy families have fun together. They find ways to laugh. They create moments and memories. They celebrate successes and losses. Laughter is a great medicine.
Limp. Healthy families limp together. They go through pain and sorrow together. Crises don’t tear them apart, but they make them stronger. Bad situations are made better because family is there. Even if they don’t agree on everything, they are respectful and loving.
Listen. Healthy families practice healthy communication. They listen to understand and not respond. Work hard to speak with love and compassion even in disagreements. All communication must remain respectful and productive even in heated disagreements.
Love God. The healthiest families have a committed relationship to God. They are in church, rely on prayer, and serve others with their whole heart. Most research indicates that people who have a strong relationship with God are healthier mentally and emotionally. A 2011 study by the American Journal of Psychiatry found that people of faith and prayer were 76 percent less likely to suffer periods of significant or major depression and that religion and spiritual connections to God should be considered during mental health or psychiatric evaluations.
There are no perfect families because there are no perfect people. But we can all practice the things above that strengthen our families to be the best that they can be. Hard times will occur. Disagreements will happen. But these are opportunities to accel and not reasons to quit. Dysfunctional families are probably the leading cause of mental and social challenges today and remember that while you cannot control the types of relationships you have with your family members, you can create greater harmony in your relationships. Work toward strengthening and improving your family relationships. Be open, honest, and empathetic, but don't be afraid to set boundaries.