How Does Family Connectedness Benefit Mental Health?

Families play a huge role in the development of a thriving mind. And it’s not only about the children in a household, but the adult mind is continually a work in progress too!

Living as a family or even an extended family is an interesting journey, to say the least. It is complex, for sure, but also delightful, heart-warming, and mind-growing. Every interaction we have as a family helps to teach us about how to have our needs met, and how to meet the needs of others. These interactions between parent and child also contribute to the development of our values/worth as human beings. 

Created for Connection

family

God made us for connection, so it is no wonder that how we learn to interact with others plays an important role in our mental health. Consider that God made Eve because “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Then God instructed Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). How important must the family unit be, that God ordained it as the first of human connections?

In the Bible, there is reference also to the church family functioning just as a human body does, with many parts, not able to fully function separately from each other (Eph 4:16; 1 Cor 12:12-27). Not only that, these verses indicate the indispensable need we have for others, and speaks of the support and building up in love that this brings. Whether church family or your own family, these same principles apply. 

So much research today matches the sentiments of the Bible, that the connections we have with our families are super important. Many studies have been conducted that correlate the quality of our connections with our happiness. In one study, it was shown that the top 10% of happiest people had very strong connections, and they spent quality time with them on a regular basis. 

With the Bible and research showing how important our connections are, it is understandable that there would be no connection more important than the one with our family of origin. 

What is the Importance of our family of origin?

Our family of origin is foundational to forming our core values, building our self-esteem, and shaping our worldview. And each of these 3 is interconnected in relation to our emotional health. 

Not only is it important how each individual in the family is treated, but it’s also vital how the loved ones in a household interact with each other and model appropriate boundaries and behaviors. This doesn’t mean there can never be a disagreement in the house, but rather modeling of how to disagree and resolve appropriately is a key factor to building strong connections. 

But it’s not just about the way we act, but also what we teach the child(ren). 

As an example, so often in Christian families, we teach our children that the marriage covenant is important because God says so. We teach them that obedience to parents is important because it’s in the Bible. We teach them about their roles as they grow into Godly men and women because it’s the way God ordained it. While these are valid reasons to teach these things, it would strengthen the discussion if they were explained in light of the connection that these relationships were intended to have, and how that helps our mental health. 

For example, when teaching and modeling about marriage, it would make it easier to understand the importance and intimacy of marriage through the verses about Christ and His bride, the church (Eph 5:22-33). This would help to explain why marriage is considered a binding covenant between man and woman. And it would help explain the intimacy between a husband and a wife and why these connections are so vital.

God has ordained the family unit as an integral part of society. As Christians, we need to consider the role our family plays in the development of each family member, not only physically and spiritually, but also emotionally and psychologically. Our connections with one another not only help to build each other up, but essentially contribute to the development of a thriving mind. 

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