What Makes Families Strong?

In the past, most of the research on families focused on what was wrong with them, rather than what was right. Today, the research field is shifting and beginning to examine what makes a family strong.

What is a strong family?

A strong family has deep meaningful relationships with each other and in their community. These relationships are mutually respectful, guided by expectations, dependable, and support the positive growth of individuals, the family, and the community. What a strong family looks like varies from family to family, and sometimes even from situation to situation. Search Institute’s framework of Family Assets names 21 specific, dynamic qualities that strengthen families. Based on extensive research, the framework identifies and documents positive dimensions of day-to-day family life that allow families and their members to flourish. Parenting adults, youth, other family members, and people who support families all play roles in nurturing and sustaining these strengths.

Download the Framework of Family Assets >

The American Family Assets Study, a national study conducted by Search Institute, reveals a clear association between the number of Family Assets a family has and positive health, psychosocial, civic, and academic well-being for teens and parenting adults. For example:

  • Both parents and teens are more satisfied with their family and with their lives when they experience more of these Family Assets.
  • When kids grow up in families where they experience more of these Family Assets, they are more engaged in school, take better care of their health, express positive values (like social responsibility, caring), regulate their emotions and behavior more effectively, and develop the social competencies they need to thrive.
  • When parents experience these Family Assets, they also take better care of their (physical and mental) health and contribute more to their community.

  • Research tells us that parents are most effective when they adopt the loving, firm authoritative style of parenting.2,3,4

    Browse Our Most Popular Parenting Topics:

    Browse Hot Topics >
    Browse Media and Technology >
    Browse High-Risk Behaviors >
    Browse Discipline and Values >