The first type of love that many people experience in life is familial. Depending on the environment you're born into, your parents, siblings, and other family members may have been the first to show you unconditional care and support. However, there are many different types of families. Your family does not need to look like the stereotypical nuclear family we often think of when we hear the word "family" to make an impact.
Regardless of who your family is comprised of, having your loved ones in your world and cultivating a strong bond with family members can improve the quality of your life. Many people do their best to make their family a priority in their lives. So, what are some of the different types of families you might see, and why is familial and parental love so important?
First, let's talk about the different ways a family can look. Common family types or family structures may include but aren't limited to:
Every family is different in size, structure, traditions, how they connect, and more. No family type or structure is superior to another, and regardless of what your unique family looks like, the love of those closest to you is irreplaceable.
Why Familial Love Matters
The ways family love enhances your life are nearly infinite. Here are some of the reasons why familial love matters.
One of the most immediate reasons familial love is so important is that family members work to support one another. Having a support system is advantageous for both your physical and mental health and alongside other people in one's life, family members are common additions to a person's support system.
You need to have people that you can turn to when you're having a tough time. You might need a shoulder to cry on or someone to help prop you up when you're feeling low. Family members that love you will be more than willing to be there for you in your time of need.
These family members will also be there to support you during the good times. They'll be ready to cheer you on as you're working toward achieving your life goals. Knowing that you have people rooting for you will make it easier to keep working to meet your goals. It's always great to have people in your corner, and a loving family is one of the best examples of this.
Another reason why having a loving family is so helpful is that they're going to love you no matter what. This is what's referred to as unconditional love. The truth is that people go through difficult times in life, and none of us are at our best all of the time. Sometimes, you'll make mistakes, and you may even do things that you're embarrassed about. You might also go through something like job loss, grief, divorce, or a general rough patch. When things go awry in life, and you feel down on yourself, the people closest to you will remain and help you pick up the pieces.
Within reason, a supportive family member will be there through it all. This person won't feel the need to kick you down when you're at your lowest; instead, they'll be there to raise you. No, they don't need to carry every ounce of what you're going through, but a supportive family works to help you get things back together. Knowing that you have people that will always love you even when you aren't at your best is important because the fact is that all of us struggle now and again and it's important to have people there for us showing the importance of love and affection. No one is perfect, and a family member usually won't expect you to be perfect all of the time - nor will you expect that of them.
Everyone deserves to have someone like that in their lives.
No matter how different you are - or how different you seem from the outside looking in - your family will always be incredibly easy to relate to. Even if you consider yourself a bit of an introverted person, you'll likely be able to talk to your family easier than other people. Being able to meet up with family and have a conversation from time to time is enough to make you feel better about life. It's easy to enjoy moments when you get to spend time with family members due to relating to each other and understanding one another.
If you grew up together, you likely have a very similar background, or at the very least, a lot of shared experiences. Many families have little quirks, quips, and jokes that those outside the family dynamic would struggle to understand. Whether it's about enjoying little insider jokes or if you love being able to reminisce about your experiences together, it's great to be able to spend time with your family.
Sometimes, life gets overwhelming. Even as an adult, most people desire people and places that make them feel at home. Most likely, you have a high number of responsibilities that you need to think about daily. Maybe you have to worry about your job, pay the bills, maintain a relationship, and so many other things. It's normal to get a bit stressed out about life sometimes and to want to think about the times when everything was simple, and you didn't have to worry so much.
Being able to spend a little time speaking with family members can help you to feel at ease. It reminds you of the past and makes it feel like you're home again when you're spending time with these people. This might be especially true if you have strong relationships with your parents, old friends, or grandparents and can talk to them anytime. These are the people who watched you turn into the person that you are today, and that can provide a sense of comfort and relief.
Not only that, but time with family can support your health. Studies show that having a meal with family at least once a day can reduce depressive symptoms and provide a host of other benefits. Whether that's your chosen family, extended family, or parents and siblings, spending time together matters, and it's positive for your overall wellbeing.
At the end of the day, one of the greatest things about family can be summed up by saying that the family bonds you've formed throughout your life are very strong. Even when you've had a falling out with certain people in your life, there's a likelihood that you'll be able to bury the hatchet due to the family love that you have for one another.
To a certain extent, even when your family isn't perfect, they're still your family. Whether that means a blood-related sibling or a friend you consider a sibling, the chances are that there have been times you haven't gotten along, but you've worked it out and made it through.
Spending such a great deal of time with someone allows you to get to know them in a way that no one else does. You have an abundance of unique experiences together that allow you to hold a bond for life in some way. Having someone who knows you on this deep level means that they know the real you - the you that other people may not see. When someone has this level of closeness with you, they might start to pick up on little cues, habits, and quirks that other people wouldn't.
When life gets hard, the comfort of the family can put you at ease. You can also be there for them in the same way when they have struggles of their own.
Never underestimate the power of a family bond. Some families even argue and have disputes over certain things that seem like they could tear the entire family unit apart. The strength of these bonds has the potential to heal these rifts. Your family members likely understand how important their love for you is and that what their relationship with you means to them is worth more than whatever you were fighting about.
There are people with bad families who aren't supportive, too. It's unfortunate when people don't have family love in their lives. Not relying on the people who raised you or your siblings can make you feel alone at times. It can be hard to know what to do when you have family relationships frayed by issues beyond your control. Some family bonds are stronger than others, but it's always possible to form your own family.
You can start a new family with significant others, friends, and other people in your life. This is true for anyone - you can always add to the list of people you consider family, and as long as the bond is healthy, there's no limit.
Many people from all different backgrounds wind up forming close family bonds with their friends and other people in their life. Friendships can become so powerful and tight-knit that they're very much like the strong family bonds mentioned above. It can't be said enough that family isn't necessarily about having a blood relation to someone. Whether someone is family to you is something that you feel in your heart.
If your genetic family isn't reliable or simply estranged from you, it can take time to heal. Reaching out to a therapist or counselor can be a true game-changer and positive step.
You can form strong relationships with others and feel a sense of love from them. Family love is important, and it can make your life better. It doesn't necessarily have to come from the family you grew up with, and if that isn't possible in your situation, there's no shame.
Abuse is serious. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). The hotline is available 24/7, and your information will be kept confidential when you call.
Whether you're struggling with concerns related to family life, other interpersonal relationships, or something else that's on your mind, consulting with a qualified mental health professional can help. You can contact your insurance company to see who they cover, search the web, ask your doctor for a referral, or sign up for a reputable online therapy website like BetterHelp.
BetterHelp offers individual and couples counseling, and the plans are often more affordable than traditional face-to-face counseling or therapy services without insurance. You can participate in therapy from the comfort of home, or wherever you have an internet connection. Regardless of how you end up consulting with a qualified mental health professional, therapy can be a life-changing part of your support system. Therapy is a confidential space to talk about anything that's on your mind, so don't hesitate to take the first step and sign up or reach out today. For more information on counseling, make sure you’ve checked medically reviewed articles on family therapy, many of which are available at BetterHelp.com. You may find an older or less previous article that helps you as you consider family therapy.
More Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the meaning of familial love?
In a broad sense, familial love refers to the unique type of love that is shared by family members. Healthy family love is characterized by positive attachments, unconditional love, and respect. When you have healthy family love in your world, your family dynamics are marked by gratitude and acceptance, and you avoid taking your family relationships for granted. Family love is often much different than the type of love experienced in other relationships.
What is love between family called?
Family love can be called many different names, including familial love or storge love. Its name will vary depending on where you are in the world, but it often has similar characteristics. When your family loves you, the love is often unconditional. Family love is characterized by healthy attachment between family members. There are a lot of ways to strengthen your love for a family member. Fostering healthy family love could be as involved as getting together with your immediate family to eat meals every day or as casual as meeting with extended family for a weekly happy hour. Regular social interactions can strengthen your family relationships and overall family love. For tips on building better family relationships sent directly to your inbox, sign up for a newsletter that focuses on family life and love.
What is love between friends called?
Love between friends is often called platonic love or philia love. Friends who experience philia or platonic love are often committed and have a deep respect for one another. The love that you feel for a friend can rise to the level of the love that you would feel for a family member if it’s strong enough. For tips on building better friend relationships sent directly to your inbox, sign up for a newsletter that focuses on friendships.