Strong Families & Healthy Relationships

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Healthy relationships based on love, commitment, and mutual respect serve as the foundation of strong families. A healthy marriage or relationship is satisfying and beneficial to both partners and any children involved. Relationships take work. Life is full of stress and many of us are dealing with blended families which can require extra patience and communication.

Healthy relationships are committed to ongoing growth and effective communication and conflict management skills. Not only are these skills important in couple relationships, but also in parent-child and other family relationships. They also transfer to the workplace and community.

The challenge is that many of us didn’t grow up in a family where healthy relationship skills were modeled. As a result, we often fumble in this area. This page provides tips and resources to help you strengthen your relationship skills and model healthy relationships skills for the children in your life. Healthy parental relationships create a solid foundation for children to achieve their true potential.

Tips & Best Practices

  • Working to enhance your relationship skills can be challenging. Fathers need to be able to successfully navigate different types of relationships, including spouse-partner, co-parent, parent-child, and workplace relationships. The National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families provides free publications, podcasts, and webinars. Check out this page to find more information on how you can work on strengthening your relationships. 
  • Learn of fundamental steps fathers can take to build strong and healthy adult relationships. This, in turn, will positively influence the types of relationships their children will have. The Healthy Relationships: Letting go of the Past information sheet provides information on relationship building and includes additional resources on healthy relationships.
  • Organizations that operate fatherhood programs often provide healthy marriage and relationship, education classes. Locate responsible fatherhood programs near you via our Responsible Fatherhood Program Map and reach out to see what advice and programs they may have. 
  • Prefer online support? The free course Strong Relationships: Strengthening Individual and Family Well-Being covers key aspects of healthy relationships. The seven chapters in this course are: Care for Self: Being Physically and Mentally Healthy; Getting to Know Partners Well; Nurturing the Relationship; Showing Affection and Respect; Developing and Maintaining Friendship; Dealing with Differences in Healthy Ways, and Engaging in a Positive Social Network.
Spotlight On
Four Things to Teach Your Children About Love

Love between two people can also be very powerful. Building a long-term relationship can have so many positive impacts on someone’s life. Part of the fun of a long-term relationship (of any kind) is growing together through shared experiences, suffering through difficulties and heartbreaks, and experiencing the joy of mountain top encounters. Getting through the challenges of life together as a couple require us to have a long range view of love and marriage.  If we don’t keep our eye on the bigger picture, we will get distracted by all the small inconsequential and inconvenient problems that crop up in life.  These distract us from the larger vision of what is important. 

Love is a powerful emotion that binds a parent to a child and one adult to another. Teaching a child how to love is one of the most important lessons a parent can teach. This resource provides four things to help teach your children about the value of love.

FAQS

How do I know if I'm in a safe and healthy relationship?

Everyone deserves to be in a safe and healthy relationship. Do you know if your relationship is healthy? Take the Am I a Good Partner Quiz to find out. The quiz also offers tips based on your score.

What does it take to have a healthy relationship?

Healthy relationships may be like cake - but they aren't always a piece of cake. Check out this fun video to see what ingredients you need to make your relationship healthy and great!

How do I manage conflict without damaging the relationship?

Relationships can be complicated. Differing parenting styles, cultural backgrounds, spending habits, and a host of other issues can lead to disagreement. Learning to resolve disagreements in a respectful way allows us to disagree while maintaining the relationship. Recognizing healthy versus unhealthy conflict management styles can also protect us from potentially harmful high-conflict relationships. The quiz 10 Rules for Constructive Conflict can help you understand what skills you might want to develop to manage conflict more effectively.
 

How do I navigate co-parenting in a blended family?

Children in blended families may have one or both birth parents as part of their lives, even if their primary care is the responsibility of another relative or nonrelative. As a result, a child could have multiple father or mother figures, and it is important to recognize that all these adults are parents. Encouraging healthy relationship skill-building and healthy parenting for all individuals who assist in the care of children can help blended families experience less conflict. Learn more about becoming One Big Happy “Blended Family”: Tips to Help Fathers Co-Parent Effectively. Also, visit the NRFC’s page on co-parenting for dads.

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