The Importance Of Family Love For Emotional Well-Being

Updated April 15, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Note: The following article contains references to familial abuse. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse of any kind, stay safe and  immediately contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Learn more about the importance of family love

The psychology of love as it occurs in the context of family is unlike any other. The quality of family love experienced by a person affects them from infancy through adolescence into adulthood. In a healthy scenario, they're the people who give most of your life’s milestones and whom you can always turn to when something good or bad happens.

Of course, this paints a perfect-sounding picture when no family is perfect. You may have a strained or antagonistic relationship with your blood family or not have any living family, 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 now. If not, remember that you are more than a family and deserve love and care regardless of your relationship. 

Evidence that family love is important for emotional well-being

Research and anecdotal evidence show that family love can significantly impact our emotional well-being. That impact can be either positive or negative and affects our emotions and behaviors. 

For example, a Harvard longitudinal study on a sample of 81 men found that "warmer relationships with parents in childhood predict greater 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 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 contributes to healthy emotions and behaviors, the opposite is 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.

Navigating troubles with family love to improve emotional well-being

People who grow up exposed to appropriate amounts of positive family love are lucky. These individuals may experience fewer problems with emotional well-being as they age. Suppose 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. In that case, there are a few things that you can do to improve this situation:



Children have no control over what family they are born into. They may suffer the consequences if their family is abusive or otherwise dysfunctional. These situations can leave long-lasting scars, including trust issues, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and difficulty getting close to people with age.  

Counseling can help you understand and start to heal through issues you may be coping with because of family problems or trauma. Whether the trouble is in the past or ongoing, there are many options for family counseling. You can search for support groups in your area or online or use conventional family counseling to work through issues together. Online therapy is also a highly effective choice because of its convenience, accessibility, and affordability.

Search for connection elsewhere

You can also cope with a lack of family love or start healing from an unhealthy family dynamic by choosing to develop close relationships with others. This can be hard to do when you are younger and still live with your parents, but as adults, we can choose to end unhealthy family relationships in most cases. To cultivate the type of family love you desire, reach out to the people you trust and feel close to for support. These people might be friends, co-workers, or anyone with whom you have a close connection. These relationships may start as friendships, but friends can become tight, like family, over time. 

Put yourself first

Ideally, one or both suggestions above can be helpful if you are struggling with your emotional well-being because of a lack of family love. If counseling or choosing your own family doesn't seem like viable options due to a lack of finances or people you consider close, like family, don't give up. Remember that self-love and self-expression are also essential factors in your emotional well-being. Sometimes taking your emotional well-being into your own hands can be just as empowering. Even though it can be challenging, you must learn to recognize your self-worth. Standing up for yourself is essential if you live with a family that doesn't treat you with love and respect. This may be difficult for some, and they may need the support of others to guide them through those times. 

Remember, how your family treats you does not reflect your worth. Don't be afraid to set boundaries around unhealthy family relationships (if you have that option). Don’t keep company with 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 what makes you happy, and seeking support.

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Learn more about the importance of family love

Navigate family challenges with professional guidance

Family love is fundamental 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 your emotional well-being. 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 you can't take things into your own hands and create the change you deserve.

A few final things to remember as you embark on this journey: First, be patient. Healing emotional scars takes time, and there will be highs and lows along the way. Also, don't give up. Finally, because we’re all unique in our situations and personalities, be self-aware. Take note of what things work for you and what don't.

Even though it’s often critical for repairing family damage or cultivating better mental health for people with negative family experiences, many choose not to seek therapy. Some find it difficult to commute to and attend appointments during the busy work week. People in more rural areas or with limited transportation options may experience barriers to treatment as well. Familial and/or societal stigma deters some from seeking counseling, and issues of discretion may be a priority for them. In such cases, encountering others in a therapist’s office or talking to a counselor face-to-face may be particularly uncomfortable. 

Online therapy provides a comprehensive solution to these obstacles and more. It allows people to attend therapy from home or anywhere with an internet connection on a schedule that works for them. Platforms like Regain match licensed, accredited mental health professionals with clients to provide the best online therapy experience. 

Virtual therapy is often more affordable than in-person therapy without insurance, and a growing body of research indicates it’s as effective as conventional therapy for families and individuals.  For example, a 2021 study published in the Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review states: “Findings of the current studies offer significant support for delivery by TH (Telehealth) methods of family therapy services. The collective evidence suggests equivalent efficacy for relational and mental health outcomes from telehealth relative to face-to-face delivery.”

If your family needs help (re)establishing a healthy bond, or you need support from a professional to work through mental health issues due to family dysfunction, reaching out to Regain is the first step on the road to healing. 

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