The idea is not new, but it deserves repeating: "Families are the building blocks of society." It would therefore come as no surprise when political, civic and religious leaders adamantly promote "family values." They know that families who stick together and function as a unit form the foundation of the larger community. They also realize that productive members of society tend to come from strong, intact, "functional" families. Moreover, we all know the important role family plays in building strength, confidence and stability in each of its members.
However, functional families now seem to be the exception rather than the rule. Divorce, drugs, violence or apathy tears too many families apart. In fact, some sources suggest that nearly every family has at least one dysfunction "in the closet." The unavoidable truth, however, is that when families break up, individuals are often forced to cope with the complexities of life on their own, quickly discovering how difficult success is in life without the stable foundation of a family.
Perhaps the greatest problem leading to family dysfunction and marital break-up involves communicating honestly, openly and lovingly BEFORE having children. The couple gets to know one another better and establishes a mature, trusting relationship that will improve after children are born. However, this is a rare case. Most often, partners withhold vital information (fail to reveal feelings about certain issues or matters, for example) and are virtual strangers to each other. Of course, this is a most unpromising start to communication within the family. Common knowledge argues that couples should never stay together "for the sake of the children," but a communicationally dysfunctional couple should not even consider having children!
For those couples who have children, building a family and "being" a family requires communicating well. Otherwise, they are just a group of people sharing the same residence. Many legally defined families do not or cannot communicate, and end up dysfunctional. Is it any wonder? No group can function effectively as a unit without its members communicating with each other.
Despite all its power and strength, the family unit remains one of the most vulnerable human connections. In America, where over 50% of marriages with children end in divorce, where threats to human safety such as drugs and gangs seem to be everywhere, the family is struggling to function as a refuge. It is quite literally under attack by a society that seems to tempt members of the family to go down other paths. "Family values" is not just another slogan. It is probably the major concern of American society.
Improving communication within the family is the best way to turn around problems. Building family communication is the classic "win/win" situation: every member of the family is more secure with one another and ready to deal with the world outside. In addition, society itself improves with more family units achieving stability. If a strong family is important to you, keep reading. You and your family (or families you know) will benefit immediately by learning how to communicate effectively and lovingly.