A strong family bond brings joy, security, and something called “Family Well-being”

You may have heard the expression “well-being” used to refer to an overall state of being healthy and happy in the individual. But have you heard of, “Family Well-being” (FWB)?

FWB refers to the overall state of health and happiness of parents and children along with the family’s self-sufficiency and resiliency. Family Well-being is more than feeling healthy and happy; it also includes family members being able to support one another — both financially and emotionally.

Here is some of what we know about well-being and the family:

So, how can we take this an put it into practice?

Here are a few things you can do to increase your family’s well-being:

  1. Put time aside to do something enjoyable together — emphasis on enjoyable. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money (or any at all), it could be going for a walk together, playing with the dog in the back yard, or a game night. Try asking a grandparent for some stories, or share memories together. The important thing is it should something everyone likes.
  2. Show appreciation for one another — and do it on a regular basis. It’s not enough to assume someone knows you appreciate them, you have to say it. Give a hug, wait for someone to get ready without complaining, say thank you, buy a silly thank you card from the dollar store, or better yet, make one yourself.
  3. Communicate openly. Make sure you share your feelings with your family. On the flip side, listen to others and try to understand how they feel. Respect others and their point of view. You don’t have to agree on everything, but you should respect them.
  4. Develop your spiritual well-being as a family. Go to church together. Talk about the benefits of your belief in a higher being together. Build a strong connection to the natural world together. Talk about love and why it is a powerful force that keeps you together.
  5. Work through stress together, don’t avoid it. Working through crises can bring you closer together so long as you face it as a family and if you are open and support one another. Brain-storm solutions and include your children in the discussion. Talk to each other about how all things eventually change, even if it doesn’t feel like that right now. Face issues together and know that as a group you are stronger than you would be alone.

 

Blog post by Dr. Blaine Mullins, Volunteer.

References

Coyl, D. D., Newland, L. A., & Freeman, H. S. (2010). Predicting preschoolers’ attachment security from parenting behaviors, parents’ attachment relationships and their use of social support. Early Child Development and Care, 180(4), 499–512.

Krys, K., Capaldi, C. A., Zelenski, J. M., Park, J., Nader, M., Kocimska-Zych, A., … & Uchida, Y. (2019). Family well-being is valued more than personal well-being: A four-country study. Current Psychology, 1-12.

Lamborn, S.D., Mounts, N.S., Steinberg, L., & Dornbusch, S. M. (1991). Patterns of competence and adjustment among adolescents from authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent, and neglectful families. Child Development, 62(5), 1049-1065.

Milkie M. A., Bierman A., & Schieman S (2008). How adult children influence older parents’ mental health: Integrating stress-process and life-course perspectives. Social Psychology Quarterly, 71, 86

Newland, L. A. (2015). Family well‐being, parenting, and child well‐being: Pathways to healthy adjustment. Clinical Psychologist, 19(1), 3-14.

Simons, L.G., & Conger, R.D. (2007). Linking mother-father differences in parenting to a typology of family parenting styles and adolescent outcomes. Journal of Family Issues, 28, 212-241.

Singh, S. (2017). Parenting style in relation to children’s mental health and self-esteem: A review of literature. Indian Journal of Health & Wellbeing, 8(12), 1522-1527.

Umberson, D., Thomeer, M. B., & Williams, K. (2013). Family status and mental health: Recent advances and future directions. Handbook of the sociology of mental health, 405-431.