Happy families have certain traits and attributes in common which make the relationship between their members stronger and more respectful for each other. The most important factors which make a happy family include love and care, effective communication, commitment, conflict resolution, and resilience. When family members show true care and respect for each other, resolve their family conflicts in a polite and friendly manner, show a high level of resilience in bitter circumstances, and ensure an effective communication without distance and time constraints, the members live like a happy and ideal family. Family happiness gets spoiled when hatred, mistrust, arguments, and criticism take the place of love, care, and mutual understanding.
A Happy Family
Before discussing what makes a happy family and what elements contribute towards making a strong relationship among all family members, it is important to explain how the word 'family' has been defined by the research scholars in the available Literature. In the past, the word family was takes as a perfect relationship among the entire people living under one household unit (Ricker, Calmes, & Sneyd, 2006). It constitutes a certain number of children living with their father and mother in one house. With the passage of time, it has also emerged as different other types of relationships; a single parent family, same-gender family, and joint family are the most common examples of a family relationship. Obviously, the most essential characteristics of a family is its constituents; i.e. The family members that have a blood relation with each other. But this characteristic only fulfills the definition of a family; not of a 'happy' family (Rodriguez, 1992).
What makes a Happy Family?
Happy families have certain attributes, traits, and characteristics in common which distinguish them from other families. Leo Tolstoy believes that happy families are not different from each other in any aspect; they have some common attributes which are a true representation of their happiness. These attributes or traits are now discussed below in detail:
1. Love and Care for each other:
Love is the most important attribute which a happy family must constitute at all times. Love enhances the importance of relations in the eyes of family members. Love can be seen when family members show deep concern for each other, take care of their liking and disliking, and express their affection, friendliness, and care in an implicit way. First of all, love makes a family member realize that he or she has a special place in the heart of all other family members. A family can be truly called a happy family if its members have deep affection and care for each other. Secondly, each family member should also keep in mind the likings and disliking of all his family members before taking any decision or doing an act which can directly or indirectly affect them. An unfavorable or detested action can spoil the relations and turn a happy family into depressed family (Banks, 1986).
Doing things for other family members also shows deep love in a family relationship. When elders share the burden of their siblings and make their work easier for them, the love in these relations increases. Similarly, when younger brothers and sisters get together to help their elders and parents so as to enable them complete their work earlier, the relations get stronger and stronger day by day. Some researchers also believe that family members should not only express their love in implicit ways, but also explicitly realize that how much they care for them (Ricker, Calmes, & Sneyd, 2006). Expressing love and care through explicit actions also helps in eliminating conflicts and issues in the family that may have aroused in the past. In a quotation, Leo Tolstoy and Anna Karenina have beautifully defined happiness as an essential part of life. They believe that there is no life if it lacks the happiness factor. For a family to be happy and stay happy, its members should have a true love and care for each other (Haltzman & DiGeronimo, 2009).
Communication is the second most important characteristic which greatly influences the happiness and emotional attachment of family members with each other. In a family relationship, communication entails all those ways through which family members interact with each other, share their feelings, and converse their un-spoken messages to other members in the family. For a family to be and stay happy, an effective two-way communication is equally important for all the family members. When children and their parents have to talk on a certain family issue, the children should not argue with their parents and try to win the situation that they are right (Ricker, Calmes, & Sneyd, 2006).
The happiness factor of a family lies in the fact that both children and parents make a healthy discussion with each other on all the family issues and problems. Arguments can be dangerous for a family relationship as they divide themselves into two opposing parties and start arguing who is right and who is wrong. Converse to this, a healthy discussion can enable them to reach a prolific conclusion and resolve the family issues in a polite and understandable manner. This thing is called compromise which is also an important attribute of a happy family. According to Leo Tolstoy, the best feelings come when people look for positive things in a relation rather than perfection in the people. One should not look for a perfect person to love; it is the love which makes that person perfect for you. For a married couple to stay happy, compromise is the second most important thing after love and care for one another (Haltzman & DiGeronimo, 2009).
Effective communication in family matters is not just limited to transmitting one family member's message to another without any disturbance or misunderstanding; it also constitutes listening to things which family members want to express in different situations and circumstances. Communication is also important among family members when they are living apart from each other. A happy family does not necessarily require all the family members to be living under one roof; a more important thing is a resilient and unbreakable communication, irrespective of the locations and time constraints among them. If one family member is busy at a farther location, the rest of the family members should keep themselves in touch with that member so as to realize him that he is not alone. For a family to be happy forever, an effective communication is essential which is understandable, honest, and encouraging for all its members.
In a happy family, all the members feel secure and open with each other. This trait of a family is called commitment of the family members for each other. To make a happy family, the family members should realize the importance of security and trust on each other. Having a sense of commitment does not mean that each family member has to strictly obey the rules and principles that are set by the head of the family; it means he or she must respect these rules and principles by heart. When one shows commitment and respect for the feelings of other family members, it represents his strong love for them which is an essential trait of a happy family. Moreover, every member should not only keep his promises with the blood relations living with him under one roof, but also with the relatives, friends, and the people living in his society. It is vital to show true respect for every person that has an attachment with one or more members of the family (Ricker, Calmes, & Sneyd, 2006).
Resilience refers to the degree to which family members mold themselves according to the changing circumstances and personal needs. A high level of resilience can save a…