Family Strengths

Grandparents In Park With Grandchildren Riding Bikes

What makes a strong family? All families function differently and all families have strengths.

Retired UNL Family Life specialist, Doc. John DeFrain has done research for more than 20 years in several countries. Through research on families he found that there are six general qualities to help strengthen families. Pick out your families strengths as you look at these qualities.

Appreciation and affection

People in strong families deeply care for one another, and they let each other know this on a regular basis. This could be just sitting by a person’s side or giving them a quick hug and words of endearment such as I love you, I appreciate you.


Members of strong families show a strong commitment to one another, investing time and energy in family activities. This doesn’t mean that you have to attend every activity – it might be a neighbor that fills in sometimes.

Positive Communication

Strong families are often task-oriented but they also need to spend time talking with and listening to one another just to stay connected. Again, this can be just a quick e-mail or phone call to say Hi and how is your day? You need to communicate about end of life issues before the time comes to actually use them.

Enjoyable Time Together

When children were asked what is a happy family they most often would say it is one that does things together. This might be having a day to clean the house or having a picnic inside. Research also shows that if family members are not in the best situation it takes one hour a week of a positive example for children to become resilient to the situations around them.

Successful Management Of Stress And Crisis

Strong families are not immune to stress and crisis, but they know how to work together to meet challenges when they inevitably occur in life.

Spiritual well-being

Spiritual well-being can be seen as the caring center within each individual that promotes sharing, love and compassion. This might be a faith in God, hope or a sense of optimism in life; some say they feel a oneness with the world.


Getting Connected, Staying Connected: The World Couples and Families Live In Today

Getting Connected, Staying Connected: What Are Our Strengths as a Couple? How Can We Build on Them?

Getting Connected, Staying Connected: How Couples Can Ensure a Meaningful and Happy Life Together

Eileen Krumbach, Extension Educator | The Learning Child

This article was previously published by Krumbach as a PDF for Nebraska Extension. It is published with full permission.

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