6 Ways to Have a Strong, Happy Family

When your car breaks down in the middle of the highway while it’s raining cats and dogs, who’s the first person that flashes through your mind? When you just landed your dream job, who are the first people you’d like to break the news to? When you’ve been admitted to the hospital, who are the ones who will be by your side?

Most, if not all people will think about their families – the ones who make up the closest and most important people in their lives.

Good news or bad news, you can always trust your family to be the first to offer support and help. Sure, your mom might be a big naggy and your dad sometimes grouchy. Your brother might be constantly MIA, off mamaking with his gaming friends. But at the end of the day, when it really matters, these are the people you can count on to be there to lend a helping hand.

This is why it’s important to develop strong family relationships. The classic definition of a family is: “Parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.” In reality though, the family should be defined as: “A  social unit where the father is concerned with parking space, the children with outer space and the mother with closet space.”

Today’s fast-paced urban environments seemed to have caused another redefinition – a family home has become a place where you sleep most of the time, converse with family members against your wish for a few minutes and take or give money.

When a family unit comes down to only this, it’s no wonder why people are closer to their friends today and consider their family an “unnecessary burden”. But this should not be the way!

Your Friends Can’t Replace Your Family

Every relationship has its own importance in our lives – friends have a certain place, as does each family member. Sadly for some, friends have become the only important relationships in their lives.

The thing is, while family can replace friends, friends cannot replace your family. Though friends accept you as you are, it is your family who’ll find the hidden nooks in you and probably understand you the best. They are the ones who can see through the front you put up and help you grow through your flaws to become a better person. Your family also loves you unconditionally, your parents chose to have you, after all.

Why is Family So Important?

Firstly, it’s about feeling secure and safe – this is, in fact, one of the most important reasons why the family is important in any society. Since fears are present in every one of us and we all need to feel secure, the family provides that security. Having a family to fall back on and feel secure with makes it easier to live life.

The number or strength of family members do not matter – be it a nuclear family or even a joint-family, all these give you a feeling of security. Such security also refers to the safety of morals, property and employment – knowing you always have a home to go to.

Then, there are the psychological needs which need to be met. Every human has many psychological needs and the fulfilment of those needs is necessary for our mental and physical wellbeing. Everybody needs affection, appreciation, a sense of belonging, love and more.

A family relationship provides you with all these things without you demanding for it. It not only gives you love, it also boosts your confidence from time to time. It teaches you the morals and principles of the society. In a way, it teaches you how to survive in the outside world.

You Need to Spend Time Together 

Think about your best friends. How did you end up becoming “best” friends? It’s probably all the experiences you’ve been through together that brought you closer. The same can be said about families. You need to spend time together in order to build a strong and close relationship with your family members. Here are a few ways you can get closer to your family:

1. Chat around the dinner table

Use mealtimes to talk and share a laugh. Instead of everyone looking at their mobile devices, use mealtimes to talk and share a laugh. Update each other on what’s happening in life so far.

2. Do fun things together as a family on a regular basis

Go on holidays, go to the movies, do things with your family that you’d normally do with your friends. Sharing experiences help to build and strengthen individual relationships.

3. Have one-on-one chats with each family member

Communication is key. Try to talk about everything, from difficult subjects like marriage or buying a house to fun unimportant things like mani-pedis. You’ll find that if you talk about everything, even the difficult things won’t seem as hard to discuss. Plus, you might just find out that your brother is actually more than just that guy slouching at his computer gaming away!

4. Listen

Give full attention if one of your family members is divulging details about his / her life. Encourage each other with praise rather than being critical, and work together to solve problems.

5. Show the love

Show appreciation, love and encouragement through words and affection. Asians have a hard time doing this. Remember your dad grunting when you proudly showed him your A+? Or your mom focusing on your shirt stains instead of your triumph at the football game? They’re secretly proud of you inside but for some strange reason seem to be suppressing it. Encourage them to show their affection more by displaying your affections openly.

6. Work together as a team

To further build strong and close relationships among family members, work together as a team. Create family rules which apply to everyone (like no phones at the table, which even daddy has to follow). Think about everyone’s needs when planning family activities and let your kids make some of their own decisions (as long as these are still within the boundaries you’ve set and within their developmental levels).

It is important to appreciate each other – take an interest in each other’s lives. Include everyone in a conversation when talking about the day’s events and support each other in important events such as sports days and school concerts.

Starting with the above tips, you can start to develop a strong relationship with your family. Just do your best for them and you’ll see that they’re doing their best for you too. Your family is very important and it takes a lot of effort to keep it together. With enough effort, you can bring your family closer than ever. Do it now and you’ll soon see the effort pay off in truly surprising ways.


What are your favourite activities to do as a family? Share with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!


Edited by: The HealthWorks Team
Contributed by: The International Psychology Centre
The International Psychology Centre, which incorporates the ChildPsych Centre for Child and Adolescents has a panel of psychologists as a channel for both adolescents and adults to address and explore their emotional issues in a safe and confidential environment through face or phone counselling. They can be contacted at 03 7982 4424 or via info@psychology.com.my.

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