What does it take to have a great family? Author and speaker Rick Johnson of Better Dads ministries shares 6 characteristics of a great family.

Have a family mission statement.

A family mission statement outlines what is important.

“Happy families know what their defining values and goals are, because it’s hard to live up to expectations when we don’t know what they are. Successful and happy families understand what those values and goals are and there’s no ambiguity about it whatsoever.”

Understand your family history

“Researchers say that kids who know their family history believe they control their own world and have a much greater degree of self-confidence.”

Rick remembers his dad showing him a picture of his great-grandfather Olaf who was Rough Rider under Teddy Roosevelt.

“I was busting the buttons off my shirt, just understanding what my family history was, that there was some little seed of greatness in my family lineage.”

Hold weekly family meetings. 

“These give kids a foundation on how things are going and encourages open communication, even allowing arguing, which is very healthy for kids to learn how to do.”

Decide to fight right

Parents will teach their children how to handle conflict through the example they set when dealing with their own conflicts.

“Teach your kids how to negotiate to get their needs met and to resolve problems.”

Participate in family dinner

Research shows that children who eat dinner with their families are less likely to drink, smoke, do drugs, get pregnant, commit suicide, and develop eating disorders. Additional research found that children who enjoy family meetings and dinners have larger vocabularies, better manners, healthy diets, higher self-esteem.”

Just try

“Of course we all want happy families, but how many of us actually invest hours into that goal. When we go into business, when we go to work, we have a project or a goal and we sit down and we figure out a game plan and then implement the strategies to help that come to fruition. The problem is how many of us actually do that in our families. I think the effort alone matters a lot.”

Highlight: Characteristics of great families

Better dads for better families