Advice Column, Parenting

What Makes A Strong Family

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The study to the aforementioned question emanated from the University of Nebraska’s Family Strength Research Project by John DeFrain and Nick Stinnett who subsequently wrote a book about the findings, “Secrets of Strong Families”. The families came from diverse sections of the American population. They study concluded that there were six primary features that strong families had in common which are listed below. The findings are food for thought and can be extrapolated to the South African family however the family may be constituted.


Members of the family were fully committed to their relationships with each other as well as helping each member grow as an individual.


Members of the family told and showed each other that they appreciated each other on a regular basis.


Effective communication skills were utilised and communication was frequent and not only evident when a problem arose.

Time Spent Together

The strong family made time for each other and some of the quality time was spent doing enjoyable and fun things.

Spiritual Wellness

Spiritual wellness for the strong family comprised various aspects and one was involvement in their religious groups or an adherence to a moral code where there is concern about others around them. Spiritual well-being also comprised involvement in other inspirational activities such as a profound appreciation of nature or music and a strong set of values. Spirituality helped keep a perspective on daily life stressors which inevitably crop up.

Coping Resources – Managing stress and crises effectively

When the strong family encountered tough times they found a way to support each other and pulled together as opposed to being torn apart in times of crises.

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