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There’s No Perfect Family, but a Happy Family Doesn’t Need to Be Perfect

There’s No Perfect Family, but a Happy Family Doesn’t Need to Be Perfect

Family members offer more support to us than just about anyone else in the world. Odds are, those who raised you are willing to help you in any way they can.

While family dynamics are as unique as the individuals themselves, most families strive to be healthy and functional.[1] Humans desire love and sense of security, and who else can do that better than our families? We all want families we can trust. Being able to count on those closest to us resonates feelings of love and appreciation.

However, achieving a family environment that is happy, healthy, and loving this isn’t always so easy. And arguments and the occasional “head-butting” certainly occur in most families.

Your parents may be helping you through college, for example, but may still argue with you about financial situations such as getting a part time job while attending school.[2] This could stem from many things such as guilt, miscommunication, or simply a bad day.

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The thing is: it’s completely normal to have conflicts.

But what separates happy and unhappy family dynamics are the ways in which conflicts and arguments are handled, as well as the severity of arguments.

Achieving this level of happiness isn’t always easy. In fact, dissecting exactly why a family feels unhappy is quite the endeavor. Think about the following: how constant are conflicts? What about miscommunications and arguments over minor stuff?

The only way to be happy is to comprehend where sources of unhappiness lie.

It’s important to be conscious of these types of unhappy tendencies. This is an important first step.

When unhappy families start to really comprehend and adjust their lifestyles, everyone wins. Family members experiencing difficulties are more apt to reaching out in times of need if they are confident that their relatives will respond with love and compassion. Additionally, most day to day activities are easier and more enjoyable when we feel overall, happy.

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Every family defines happiness differently.

It’s true that happy families are the closest families, but they are not all alike.[3] This is because many family’s definitions of happiness differ. Some family groups require frequent dinners and rituals like game nights, and others are content with regular phone calls and the occasional family reunion.

Consider picking up a book on the subject of happiness! A relevant book, 100 Simple Secrets of Happy Families: What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It[4] gives a great deal of insight into family happiness.

An article by Time highlights the top 20 secrets from this book:[5]

  • Where you live does matter—the happiness of a community segues into family happiness.
  • Open communication is a must for all families.
  • Tell the family story—knowledge family history radiates happiness and family pride.
  • To communicate values to kids, focus on closeness, not lectures.
  • You’re a role model to kids—always keep that in mind.
  • You must always be open to change.
  • We love those who show love—make sure care and kindness are reciprocated.
  • They need you to be positive, especially when times are tough.
  • History beats apology—don’t be overly apologetic.
  • Try to be fair, not right or correct.
  • The secret to great work/life balance is a feeling of control—take charge of your work schedule if possible.
  • Discussing tough subjects makes everything easier in the long run.
  • Happiness is determined by what you think about most—try your best to focus on the positives and combat the negatives.
  • Family rituals matter—sit down and have dinner together on the regular and plan activities you all enjoy!
  • Kids that pick their activities enjoy school—if they are interested, let them play sports or in band or anything else.
  • Separate your work and family life.
  • Coping with in-laws is worth it.
  • Pets help create more happiness.
  • Kids need more than just mom and dad—all family members are important!
  • Anyone can have a happy family—we are all capable of happiness if we are willing to work for it.

And to reiterate, planning family rituals and activities truly strengthens family bonds and creates a great deal of happiness. To strengthen the family bonding, plan quality time and fun things to do together.[6]

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Happiness can’t always be attained overnight. For some families it may be easy and others must make a conscious effort to change and become happier. The following resources will be very advantageous to your happiness and your family’s merriment.

Seek family counseling to radiate happiness in the family.

For families that are far from happy, the best solution is oftentimes through outsourced efforts of family counseling. It truly helps to have another person who is professionally trained weigh in and offer help and support.

Families around the world all find benefits from family counseling. This is a form of happiness “assistance.” These types of counseling services are fairly easy to access in places like the United States but must continue to progress across the globe. This is why family counseling and social work on a global scale are important.[7] Every family deserves to be as happy as possible, and counselors and social workers are the key!

Communication, communication, communication!

One of the biggest pitfalls to happiness for families is miscommunication. Communication is an absolute must for all types of relationships to thrive, especially families. Family counselors also assist in communication efforts. A post by Wake Forest University elaborates:[8]

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“Without communication, one child’s emotional challenges can grow into a variety of behavioral problems that affect many more people than the individual; without an opportunity to express these feelings, contributing factors might never even be properly identified. Individual therapy often begins with the counselor helping the patient to increase self awareness.”

Counseling helps ensure that the voices of all members of a family are heard. Sometimes it’s harder than it should be to just listen to each other and communicate effectively. Fortunately, family counseling helps!

And take the following bits of advice to heart:[9]

  • To build strong family relationships, listen actively to each other.
  • Use “I” messages rather than “You” messages when talking.
  • Encourage all family members to share their thoughts and feelings.
  • Strong families spend time together.
  • Strong families handle their conflict fairly.
  • Strong families develop trust.

What works best for you and your family? What do you and your family do to maintain and happy and healthy relationship? Share with us!

Reference

More by this author

Robert Parmer

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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