Lesson 5 of 7 - evolve a high-nurturance family

What's a High-nurturance
(Functional) Family

Did you come from one?

By Peter K. Gerlach, MSW

Member NSRC Experts Council

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The Web address of this article is https://sfhelp.org/fam/health.htm

Updated 03-15-2015

      Clicking underlined links here will open a new window. Other links will open  an informational popup, so please turn off your browser's popup blocker or allow popups from this nonprofit Web site. If your playback device doesn't support Javascript, the popups may not display. Follow underlined links after finishing this article to avoid getting lost.

      This is one of a series of articles on evolving and enjoying high-nurturance families (Lesson 5). The series exists because the wide range of current U.S. social problems suggests that most families don't fill the primary needs of (nurture) their members very well. That suggests the epidemic effects of the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle proposed in this nonprofit Web site .

      This article proposes basic premises about "healthy" (functional, or high-nurturance) families and other groups. Read this to clarify what you believe, and to prepare to use this family-health assessment worksheet.

      This 2-part video about families provides perspective to what you'll read in this article: The video mentions eight lessons in this self-improvement Web site. I've reduced that to seven.

      The article assumes you're familiar with:

  • the intro to this Web site and the premises underlying it

  • self-improvement Lessons 1 thru 4

  • this view of normal personalities

  • this perspective on family systems,

  • the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle

 Premises about Families

      With your childhood and present families in mind, see if you Agree, Disagree, or are ambivalent or unsure (?) about these proposals: 

      Premise 1)  Families have existed in every age and culture because they fill some core needs (nurture) better than other human groups. Any family can be ranked somewhere between very low nurturance (dysfunctional) to very high nurturance (funcstional), (A  D  ?) 

       From one (very low) to 10 (very high), how would you rate the "nurturance level" of the family you grew up in? If you're a parent, how high will each of your kids rank the nurturance level of their childhood family when they are, say, 35? By the end of this article, you'll have a better idea of how to answer these questions.

      2) The core purposes of all families are to:

  • provide an accessible refuge where each member can feel consistently accepted + valued + appreciated + safe + useful + supported + encouraged - i.e. loved. Many families also...

  • conceive and/or nurture children - i.e. provide for their wholistic health and growth, and work patiently to prepare minor kids to become healthy, self-sufficient, productive adults, and responsible parents and citizens. (A  D  ?)

      Can you think of any other reasons families exist?

      3) The wholistic health of a person or a family is their current blend of emotional + spiritual + mental + physical health. Typically, family members make subjective judgments about their personal and family wholistic health which more objective observers may dispute. (A  D  ?)

      4) The adult leaders of a family are responsible for how nurturing their home and family are over time. The nurturance level of their physical family directly mirrors (a) the nurturance level and harmony of each adult's personality (inner family of subselves) and (b) how well they know some core topics . (A  D  ?) 

      Premise 5) Average children raised in a low-nurturance family and environment automatically seek to survive by developing a disabled true Self and up to five other psychological wounds. Without informed help and a higher-nurturance environment, such kids grow up to continue the toxic [wounds + unawareness] cycle - they...
  • unconsciously choose wounded partners, and often divorce one or more times,

  • justify neglecting their own health and longevity, and...

  • evolve a low-nurturance home for any kids they care for despite vows not to. (A  D  ?)

      6) Typical women and men with disabled true Selves don't see themselves as psychologically wounded or their family as being "low nurturance" (denial). Other wounded people may say "Sure I have some wounds - everyone does," and they deny, minimize, or ignore what that means.  (A  D  ?)

      7)  Typical high-nurturance families have specific traits that lower-nurturance families don't have. (A  D  ?)

     8)  Family leaders can learn how to assess and reduce their psychological wounds and raise their inner and outer families' nurturance levels at any time. (A  D  ?)

      9)  The unremarked U.S. divorce epidemic that stresses millions of families is largely due to...

  • most mates denying or ignoring their wounds and unawareness; and...

  • the (wounded, unaware) public not demanding legislation to improve the nurturance levels of the nation's families. (A  D  ?)

Premise 10) Typical family adults and supporters need to know the information summarized here to...

  • Understand the common effects of the [wounds + unawareness] cycle , so they can assess...

  • whether any of their family members are significantly wounded, so they can...

  • help each other heal, and...

  • help courting partners make three informed commitment choices and...

  • protect themselves and their descendents and society from the ancestral cycle of low childhood nurturance psychological wounding low nurturance divorce wounded kids. (A  D  ?)

      Recall - these are basic premises about families to help you clarify what you believe.

      11)  The nurturance-levels of your birth and present families powerfully affect your wholistic health, achievements, priorities, and relationships. (A  D  ?)

      You have many choices about assessing and improving your current level. Begin by studying Lesson 1 and using these assessment tools. Then decide if you want to act. People ruled by false selves often aren't motivated to do this unless they ''hit bottom.''  

      12)  Family leaders who provide high-nurturance homes were usually well-nurtured by their early caregivers at home, school, and church. High personal wholistic health and family nurturance seem to reproduce naturally, and vice versa: low childhood nurturance and related psychological wounds pass down the generations, until identified and intentionally healed. (A  D  ?)

      Do you have dependent children and/or grandchildren?

      13)  High-nurturance organizations, like schools, teams, committees, churches, communities, governments, and businesses all have common traits. Typical group members display characteristic behaviors like these. People whose inner families (personalities) have high-nurturance levels tend to join or create high-nurturance social environments, and vice versa. (A  D  ?)

      14)  Families and other groups which don’t fill members' current primary needs (nurture) very well are called dysfunctional. Most U.S. (and other?) families and schools appear to be moderately to very dysfunctional. It's our current cultural norm, so few people are concerned enough to work toward raising public awareness  and revising state and federal laws to improve this. (A  D  ?)

      Premise 15)  Key questions about any family (like yours) are:

  • How wholistically-nurturing is or was it (very low to very high) for all members - i.e. how many of these nurturing traits have been consistently present?, and...

  • What psychological, physical, and spiritual effects  has this had on each family member? (A  D  ?)

      16)  Kids who consistently get enough nurturance at home, school, and church (a subjective judgment) usually mature into what may be called Grown Nurtured Children, or GNCs. Adults who were unintentionally deprived in early childhood of "too many" nurturances by adult neglect, abandonment, and abuse *trauma) may be called Grown Wounded Children or GWCs.

      Each of your family adults falls (subjectively) somewhere on a line between "major GNC" and "major GWC." This has major implications personal, marital, and family harmony or stress. (A  D  ?)

      17)  My clinical research since 1979 suggests that most troubled and divorcing couples are GWCs in denial of their wounds and their toxic effects. Few family adults, human-service professionals, or legislators seem to (want to) know this. Many are wounded themselves and in denial.  (A  D  ?)

      Premise 18)  Typical unrecovering GWCs and their kids exhibit clear personal traits and group behaviors. These traits, and characteristics of their childhood family and their ancestral family trees, provide four ways to assess for significant psychological wounding. Accepting and reducing (vs. curing) such wounding can...
  • reduce a major marital hazard, and...

  • break the unseen generational bequest of significant wounds and unawareness, and...

  • help recovering adults raise the nurturance levels of their relationships and families. (A  D ?)

+ + +

      Pause, breathe, and reflect - what did you just learn?

      These premises about families build on those underlying this nonprofit Web site. Note that the Lesson-1 guidebook Who's Really  Running Your Life? (Xlibris, 2011, 4th edition) integrates key Lesson-1 Web articles. It focuses on understanding and identifying psychological wounds and practical options for reducing them.     

       With all this in mind, meditate on these thoughts from and about the kids in your life. Then pause and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what do you need now?

  Learn something about yourself with this 1-question anonymous poll.

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Next  rate the nurturance level of someone's family - like yours


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