The importance of family love for emotional wellbeing cannot be underestimated. The quality of family love experienced by a person affects them all the way from infancy through adolescence into adulthood. Love, as it occurs in the context of family, is unlike any other. Your family members are the people you surround yourself with the most, who give your life meaning, and who you would do anything for. They're the people that you can't live without, who you turn to when something good or bad happens.
Of course, this is painting a perfect-sounding picture when no family is perfect. You may have a strained or negative relationship with your blood family or not have any living family that you know of, but that does not mean you can never experience positive family love. You may have past experiences where you received a lot of healthy family love but don't right now. If not, remember that you can always choose who your family is (at least when you're old enough to understand and make that choice).
Research and anecdotal evidence show that family love can have a big impact on our emotional wellbeing. That impact can be either positive or negative, and effects of different things like our emotions and behaviors.
A Harvard longitudinal study conducted by Waldinger, R.J. & Schulz, M.S. (2016) on a sample of 81 men found that "warmer relationships with parents in childhood predict greater security of attachment to intimate partners in late life, and that this link is mediated in part by the degree to which individuals in midlife rely on emotion-regulatory styles that facilitate or inhibit close relationship connections." These findings highlight how the childhood environment can impact individuals even as adults.
Just like a nurturing, loving, and supportive family environment contribute to healthy emotions and behaviors, the opposite is also true. For example, many children who grow up in abusive households and witness domestic violence firsthand model the same behavior in their family relationships when they are older. Both examples show how the quality of family love we are exposed to from a young age can have far-reaching consequences.
Other evidence, like the study by Bond, L., Patton, G., Glover, S., et al. (2004), shows how other influences, like a school-based intervention, can positively impact emotional wellbeing. This shows that your family may help or harm your emotional wellbeing, but they aren't the whole story. Other factors can also impact and influence your emotional wellbeing, meaning things can change.
People who grow up exposed to appropriate amounts of the positive family love are lucky. These individuals may suffer from fewer problems with emotional wellbeing as they age. If you grew up in a situation where family love was missing or skewed or are currently experiencing issues with a family affecting your emotional well-being, don't worry. Either way, there are a few things that you can do to improve this situation:
Sometimes it's unfortunate that people have no control over what family they are born into. If you have been dealt a bad hand, you cannot do much to change it. You may be stuck suffering the consequences if your family is not very loving or (even worse) abusive for many years. These types of situations can leave long-lasting scars, including things like trust issues, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and difficulty getting close to people when you are older.
Counseling can help you understand and start to heal through issues you may be dealing with because of family problems or trauma. These things can be in the past or ongoing. One positive thing is that these days it's easier than ever to find counseling services built to suit your needs. Traditional, in-person counseling is still an option if you prefer to see a professional face-to-face. Still, if you are waitlisted or seeking an alternative counseling method, there are some great services out there.
One convenient alternative that has been around for a few years is online counseling. Online counseling services are the perfect solution if you live in a rural area or don't have time to keep regular appointments in person. Services like ReGain offer relationship counseling to couples and individuals. ReGain and other services like it are affordable and convenient. You can connect with a trained professional from the comfort of your own home and even while you're traveling or on-the-go.
You can also cope with a lack of family love or start to heal from an unhealthy family dynamic by choosing your own family instead. This can be hard to do when you are younger and still live with your parents, but as adults, we have the power to choose to end unhealthy family relationships. We can also choose new, honorary family members that make us feel loved and respected. Have you ever had a close friend that was like the brother or sister you always wished you had?
To bring in the type of family love you desire in life, start by reaching out to the people you trust and feel close to for support. These people might be friends, co-workers, or people you meet randomly and have a close connection. These relationships may start as friendships, but over time friends can become close, like family. For example, an older co-worker might become a bit of a parental figure because they have qualities you wish your parents had when you were young.
Ideally, one or both of the suggestions above can be useful if you are struggling with your emotional wellbeing because of a lack of family love. If counseling or choosing your own family doesn't seem like viable options due to lack of finances or people you consider close like family, don't give up. Remember that self-love and self-expression are also important factors in your emotional wellbeing. Sometimes taking your emotional well-being into your own hands can be just as empowering.
Even though it can be hard at times, you must learn to recognize your self-worth. If you live with a family that doesn't treat you with love and respect, you don't need to take it. You should feel comfortable standing up for yourself and not take their actions or words to heart. If you are in an abusive relationship, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. The way that your family treats you, especially when negative, does not reflect your worth.
Don't be afraid to set boundaries around unhealthy family relationships if you have that option. Refuse to be around people who make you feel bad about yourself. Take your emotional well-being into your own hands by taking good care of yourself physically, doing the things that make you happy, and developing a tough exterior that cannot be penetrated by people who don't treat you the way you deserve to be treated. By believing that you deserve better, you will start to bring better into your life.
Family love is extremely important when it comes to a person's emotional well-being. Growing up in a loving and supportive family can help you develop into an emotionally-healthy teen and adult. In contrast, a lack of family love or growing up in an unhealthy family environment can negatively impact your emotional well-being in the long term. Just know that whatever happens in your family life, you can always change your situation for the better.
If you grew up with a lack of family love or are having family problems, there are several things that you can do to improve and protect your emotional wellbeing. A few of these things include seeing a counselor online or in person, choosing your own family, and putting yourself first instead of letting others get you down. Our family indeed shapes us, but if you were dealt a bad hand, it doesn't mean that you can't take things into your own hands and create the change you deserve.
A few final things to keep in mind as you embark on this journey: For one thing, be patient. Healing emotional scars takes time, and there will be highs and lows along the way. Also, don't give up. Even when you have setbacks like letting a family member walk all over you or let negative ways of thinking get to you, remember that you are making progress just by trying. Finally, be self-aware. Take note of what things work for you and what doesn't since all of us are different.
We all cope differently when we are struggling with our emotional wellbeing, and that's okay. If you try one of these methods, like counseling or setting boundaries, and it doesn't work for you, move on to the next thing until something does work. If you are a parent, remember that showing healthy family love to your children can make a big difference in their current and future emotional well-being. If you lacked family love growing up, make a promise not to continue the cycle with your kids.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is family love?
Family love is the bond characterized by affection, respect, loyalty, and healthy attachment. The love of family is a different kind of life love that is experienced in other relationships. In most cases, it is unconditional and never-ending, despite the highs and lows of life. Even after children have grown up and left the house, adult children always know they have a place to go no matter where life takes them.
What do you call the love for family?
Storge, or familial love, is the love of family experienced between parents and their children. This is often an unconditional and unbreakable love that lasts a lifetime.
Why is love important in a family?
Familial life love is important because family and friends are caring and love and support one another in a way nobody else can. A family that offers time, caring, and love will be there to support you when you are in a time of need and during the good times, as well. A family also makes you feel at home, and love is unconditional. Bonds between small and large loving, caring, close families are very strong, and family and friends who love you unconditionally will support you throughout all the ups and downs of life.
What family means quotes?
Family life love is the topic of many love quotes, which express the caring and love behind a family. Family love quotes can help you express the love your family has and its impact on your wellbeing. One popular quote is by Friedrich Nietzsche, who said, “In family, life love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together.” “Love is the oil” refers to the love your family shows that helps get you through the “friction” or tough times in life.
Should I choose love or family?
Family and romantic love are both very important. In truth, a family isn’t always close with one another or may not always agree with your choice for a romantic partner. There may be seasons in life where you may need to choose family home love over your partner or vice versa. Every situation is unique, and it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. It can be hard to choose a romantic partner over a large loving, caring, close family. In some cases, the family loves you enough to understand and respect you can make your own choices, even though they may not agree with your choice of a romantic partner.
Why is family so important?
A family home and love of family is so important because a family loves you unconditionally and, in most cases, you can always count on them to be there through the good times and the bad. The love between family members is unbreakable, and no matter where life takes you, you can always count on them to support you.
What are the 7 kinds of love?