HOW TO CREATE A FUNCTIONAL FAMILY
By Carl H. Shubs, Ph.D.
- Create a family environment that is physically, psychologically and emotionally safe for everyone.
- Keep your ego in check. Do not strike out at other people who may bruise it, especially when those other people may be part of your family.
- Know yourself. Get to know the other people in your family. Be sure you can see who they really are and not just who you want them to be. Understand their strengths and weaknesses.
- Listen to the people in your family, especially when they say things that you may dislike or disagree with. This does not mean that you should do everything they want you to do. It does mean that if you listen to them you may learn what they think, how they feel, how they see themselves and the world around them, what they want, why they want it, and what is important to them. It is only when you listen to them that you can understand what they need, and then you may be able to provide it.
- Be present. Be actively involved. Understand how find a middle ground between being controlling versus abandoning.
- Be supportive. Understand how to support without taking over or directing.
- Be able to allow give and take in your relationships. Allow dialogue and discussion. Be sure things don't always have to be your way or someone else's way.
- Allow and encourage people to make decisions for themselves.
- Let people be accountable and responsible for their actions. Allow people to make mistakes and to learn from them. Do the same for your own actions.
- Allow people to express their thoughts and feelings. Let them do so clearly, directly, and with passion.
- Do not tolerate physical, verbal, or emotional violence as being acceptable ways of expressing those thoughts or feelings.
- Treat everyone in your family with respect and dignity.
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