7 Values for Strong Families

Medically Reviewed by Mahammad Juber, MD on October 06, 2022
5 min read

Strong family values are the foundation of a happy and loving household. These shared ideals shape a family’s morals, priorities, structures, and traditions. Many parents instill good family values in their children to help them develop into kind, responsible citizens. 

When families’ values align, they typically have stronger bonds and more successful relationships. By contrast, a lack of family values can cause discord and dysfunction. What are family values, and how can you teach good values to your family?

Family values are beliefs, ethics, priorities, and worldviews shared by each family member. These behavior codes create structure in families and can define each member’s role. They also help families cope with difficult challenges and determine right from wrong in complex situations. 

These shared principles can impact many areas of a family’s life, including: 

  • Daily activities 
  • Disciplinary techniques for children
  • Division of chores
  • Education
  • Finances
  • Parenting styles
  • Relationships
  • Religion 
  • Rituals

Each family has unique core values based on the priorities and needs of individual members. These principles often transmit intergenerationally, traveling from grandparent to parent to child. For example, children generally learn norms and personality traits from their parents. Researchers still don’t fully understand this complex phenomenon, but studies suggest that culture, gender, and other factors may play a role in how family values travel between generations.

Cultural norms, societal values, and media can also shape common family values. During the 1980s, for instance, popular sitcoms promoted career women and modeled more equal divisions of labor. Today, sitcoms like Modern Family depict more diverse family structures while still teaching positive family values like kindness and teamwork.

The phrase “family values” often brings to mind a heteronormative nuclear family: a husband, a wife, and their adopted or blood offspring. Today’s families take many forms due to economic pressures, growing acceptance of LGBTQ relationships, shifting demographics, and other causes. 

A few recent trends in family and household structures include: 

  • Cohabitation without marriage: Many unmarried couples now live together. As of 2019, 59% of American adults aged 18 to 44 have lived with a partner without marriage. 
  • Multigenerational households: Extended family members increasingly live together in one household. In 2021, the Pew Research Center reported that 18% of Americans lived in multigenerational households. Reasons for multigenerational cohabitation include cultural norms and financial security.  
  • Rise of child-free adults: The birthrate in the United States has declined in recent years, and many people embrace child-free lifestyles. In a 2021 Pew Research Center survey, 44% of American adults aged 18 to 49 reported that it’s “not too likely” or “not at all likely” that they will have children. 

No matter what shape your family takes, you can enjoy the benefits of family values with your household members. These ideals provide many significant advantages, including:

  • Enriching bonds within your own family
  • Giving kids guiding principles that they can use to make ethical and intelligent decisions 
  • Helping children cope with outside influences 
  • Nurturing respect among family members
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles for children and adolescents 

Creating cohesive family values can help all household members adopt healthier lifestyles, develop positive relationships, and make ethical decisions.

What are good family values? The guiding principles that your family unit creates will depend on many factors, including culture, personality, race, and religion. Here are seven examples of family values that can promote healthy households: 

  1. Empathy: Treat animals, people, and other creatures with compassion and understanding. Within your family, you can practice kindness by considering the emotions of other members and seeking to understand their points of view. You can help children develop empathy by encouraging them to talk about their feelings, modeling sharing with others, and participating in volunteer activities. 
  2. Family time: Shared activities help family members bond over common interests. Prioritize spending time with immediate and extended family members whenever possible. Quality family time includes cooking, exploring a new city, hiking, inviting extended family members to share their memories, and watching a television show.  
  3. Honesty: Telling the truth is not always easy, but it’s essential to maintaining trust between family members. You can teach children honesty by giving consequences for lies, modeling ethical behavior, and not punishing them for telling the truth. 
  4. Love: Deep affection and attachment keep families together. Simple ways to demonstrate your love for your family include giving them small but thoughtful gifts, providing physical affection, and verbally expressing your feelings. 
  5. Loyalty: Families should support each other in difficult times and not intentionally harm each other. You can foster family loyalty by encouraging members to share their feelings, not shaming them for mistakes, and making caring for the family a priority. 
  6. Perseverance: Your family will face many complex challenges over the years. You can develop resilience by creating shared goals, practicing self-care, and working together to overcome obstacles. 
  7. Respect: Treat your family members and other people with care and politeness. You can help children learn respect by discouraging disrespectful behavior, setting boundaries, and teaching polite manners. 

These seven family values can serve as a helpful starting point for developing your own common beliefs and morals.

Transmitting family values to children and other household members will require dedication and time. Here are a few strategies that you can use to teach family values: 

  • Acknowledge and apologize when you make mistakes.
  • Be a positive role model. 
  • Create a family values list together and display it in a prominent location. 
  • Discuss why your values are important to you and other family members.
  • Empower your children to make their own decisions. 
  • Point out examples of family values in media. 
  • Praise your child when they demonstrate a family value, like empathy or respect.
  • Show affection for family members through your actions and words.
  • Talk about difficult situations in the news and ask your children to consider how they would respond based on your family values. 
  • Volunteer as a family. 

You can build a great foundation for your household by creating and teaching strong family values. A shared set of principles will allow your children, partner, and other family members to work as a team and cope with stressful obstacles. Together, you can help each family member experience personal growth and have more fulfilling relationships.