What Qualities Contribute To A Happy Family?

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated March 11, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Family can be one of the most important parts of our lives, providing us with support, affection, guidance, and love. For this reason, it can be vital to ensure you and your family members feel comfortable, cared for, and safe—in short, happy. A variety of factors can contribute to the happiness of a family, including financial stability, mental health, and communication. Understanding the common characteristics of a harmonious household can help you determine how best to help your family foster contentment. In this article, we’re discussing several of the qualities that can lead to happiness within a family. 

Common characteristics of happy families

Strong family bonds can be a crucial part of an individual’s life. Studies suggest that family connections are the most important relationships for both young people and adults.

As a parent, partner, or other relative, working to deepen bonds between your family members can lead to improvements in many areas of their lives (and yours). If you’re looking to foster familial happiness, there are several qualities that you may want to develop or strengthen. Below are several characteristics that are often present in happy families. 

Mental and physical wellness

Happiness and well-being—both physical and mental—are closely connected. When family members are healthy, they may be better able to interact in constructive ways, cope with stressors, and support one another. Fostering wellness can also help your family manage or avoid mental and physical health challenges. 

There are several ways you can help ensure your family members are caring for their well-being. You can encourage them to eat a balanced diet, maintain a regular sleep schedule, exercise, and tend to their personal hygiene. You could go for regular evening walks, write in your journals at the same time, or cook a healthful meal as a family a few times a week. 

Emotional health can also have close ties to overall wellness and a family’s goal of achieving happiness. A person's emotional well-being can affect their interpersonal interactions, physical health, and overall quality of life. Children who witness their parents cope with challenges in a productive manner are likely to follow suit as they learn, grow, and eventually venture into the world. 

One way of nurturing wellness in your family is through counseling. Therapy can also help families identify areas of concern, learn healthy communication, develop coping mechanisms, and more. You can pursue family therapy in a group setting, which allows you and your family members to work together to strengthen your relationships and learn how to function in constructive ways. Talking to a therapist can also help individual family members address mental health concerns like depression or anxiety. 

Healthy communication

Research shows that there is a link between happiness and family functioning—and that a primary factor in family functioning is communication. Proper communication provides numerous benefits to a family, allowing parents to lay out expectations, children to express their feelings, and all family members to provide one another with support. 

As a parent, fostering discussion within your family can help you understand the challenges your children are facing. Your children may not know how to bring certain subjects up to you, so providing them with the opportunity to talk about what’s happening in their lives can be helpful. Try to create an environment in which communication is encouraged. You can let your children and significant other know that they can talk to you about anything. Consider setting aside time each week to have a family meeting, during which you can talk about family-related goals, concerns, etc.

Financial stability

Online therapy can help your family cultivate happiness

While money isn’t the only thing to consider when it comes to happiness, it can be a useful tool as you work to build a content and well-adjusted family. An American Psychological Association survey found that 65% of individuals regard money as a cause of stress in their lives. The ability to pay for housing, bills, food, recreational activities (dining out, going to the movies, etc.), and other expenses can help family members feel stable.

Between partners, financial duress can create tension and even lead to negative physical health consequences. Planning ahead can help you avoid potential financial pitfalls that may affect your family’s happiness. This can give you an idea where you stand and help you determine what next steps to take. You can also instill financial responsibility in your children by discussing money with them at appropriate times. Financial stability and the ability to cover living expenses can be paramount when it comes to happiness in the family.

Quality time 

Even if family members are in close contact each day, they might not be interacting with one another in a meaningful, engaging manner. Spending quality time—during which family members are focusing primarily on each other—can help a family connect. It can allow them to talk about what’s happening in their lives, work through challenges they’re experiencing, plan for the future, and have fun together. 

Spending quality time with your family can lead to improved mental and physical well-being. For example,  that young people who eat dinner with their family are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors (e.g., eating a balanced diet, exercising) and less likely to experience adverse mental health outcomes (e.g., substance use, depressive symptoms). Dining with one’s family is also thought to impact academic performance and conduct. Consider setting aside certain nights during the week for family meals. 

If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources. Support is available 24/7.

In addition to eating together, there are numerous ways you can spend quality time with family members. Consider learning a new language or practicing an instrument together. Actively creating situations for you to interact with your family in a meaningful way can help you all feel closer.   


A proper level of regard amongst family members can be a critical, determining factor in happiness. Respect can be a key part of the relationship between significant others, parents and children, and other family members. Between partners, respect can mean communicating in a polite manner and being considerate of each other’s wants and needs. 

Parents can also teach their children how to behave respectfully. This can include speaking in a respectful manner, being honest, and trusting others. Teaching these values to children during their formative years can come in handy as they grow into teenagers. Young people who have been instilled with values are more likely to be able to resist adverse influences and make decisions that can attract both short-term and long-term benefits.

Positive influences

Modeling healthy behavior for your children can make it easier for them to adopt those same behaviors as they develop. Positive influences can contribute to the growth and success of children while negative external influences may engender the opposite outcome. Being a positive influence can mean exhibiting respectful behavior toward your significant other, talking through challenges with your family, and helping others when necessary. You can instill certain values in your kids by modeling behavior that represents those values. For example, you can show your children the benefits of a strong work ethic by getting things done around the house in a timely manner. Setting an example for your kids can not only set them up for success later in life, but also help your family interact in healthy ways. 

How online therapy can help

Studies show that online therapy can help families interact in healthy ways, cope with emotional challenges, and foster happiness. In a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, participants reported decreases in family conflict and increases in “family warmth” following an online therapy program. The study also mentions that both parents and children experienced improvements in individual mental health symptoms, including those related to depression and stress. 

If you’re looking for helping cultivating happiness in your family, consider connecting with a licensed online therapist. With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can work through family challenges remotely, which can be convenient for families with busy schedules and varying locations. BetterHelp works with thousands of qualified professionals—including licensed marriage and family therapists—and will match you based on your areas of concern and preferences; so, you’ll have a good chance of working with someone who can address your specific family challenges. 

Online therapy can help your family cultivate happiness


There are a variety of influences that can contribute to a family’s happiness, from emotional well-being to financial stability to quality time. Often, just giving your children time, attention, and patience will be enough to ensure that they remember their childhood fondly. If you’d like further guidance, online therapy can help. With the right support, you can continue to deepen your familial bonds and foster happiness.
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