What Does It Mean to Be Family Oriented?

For many people, family is the most important connection in their lives.

Most family oriented individuals prioritize their family’s needs and happiness above all else, sometimes even sacrificing their own self—it’s a sentiment that has been echoed since time immemorial.

However, the meaning of being “family oriented” has evolved over time. What it meant before may not be so suitable in today’s world.

So, we asked experts about what it means to be family oriented.

Here are their insights:

Just 40 years ago, being “family oriented” meant something vastly different from what it means today. Back then, if you provided for your family both domestically and financially to the best of your ability, you were golden. That’s all it took to make you a superstar parent and spouse.

Can you imagine ticking those two boxes and considering yourself a paragon of parenting? I certainly can’t.

The responsibilities of parents today are much more numerous and complex. We are charged with balancing our own well-being with the well-being of our children.

We are scrutinized in every aspect:

  • how we show up;
  • how much screen time our kids get (or do not get);
  • the quality and creative time we spend with them;
  • balancing our passions and pursuits while holding space for our kids to tend to theirs);
  • making sure they are active while holding space for them to be bored.

Everywhere we turn, there is conflicting (and oftentimes judgy) advice, and we are desperately trying to hold our heads above water achieving all with excellence.

Alongside all of this, we are now charged with navigating, balancing, and reconciling the virtual and in-person realities which now coexist at an intricate and almost inseparable level.

In our rapidly changing world—where the virtual environment is becoming the primary space in which humans connect—it has fallen to parents to educate their kids on the nature of meaningful interaction.

The superficial, false, and brutal nature of the online world can warp their understanding of human relationships. And worse, it can leave our children feeling decidedly disconnected, unfulfilled, and lacking, especially when they compare themselves to their peers, as they inevitably do.

Curating activities that foster meaningful connections

It is critical that we, as the leaders of our families, provide rich social opportunities for our kids to connect in more meaningful ways. Now more than ever before, these experiences need to be carefully crafted and planned.

Here’s an example from my own life: I recently threw my son a surprise sixteenth birthday party. My older daughter and I had great fun cooking and planning for this secret event. We planned games such as charades, a quiz, and a fast-draw game where you had to draw a picture representing what was on the card.

About five minutes before the guests arrived, I had a little panic.

Would these attempts be met with an attitude that we were ‘dorky’ and ‘embarrassing’? My fears turned to relief as the evening progressed, and my son’s friends showed their unabashed enjoyment. We had dinner together, laughed together, had fun, and got to know each other.

They even said they’d love to do it all again soon.

The point is, these kinds of activities would have been seen as standard when I was growing up. Now, because of the technologically rich world we live in, we see them as rare, rich social opportunities for our kids to connect that are no longer taken for granted.

In today’s world, being “family oriented” requires us to look beyond simply “spending time together.”

That’s a good start, but it’s not enough.

We must give some careful thought to planning and curating activities that foster meaningful connections. Our kids need our help filling the void that tech has created in their interpersonal skills.

We can no longer take it for granted that those skills will naturally develop. Instead, we must help all of our family members cultivate them.

Leading and setting a good example

Savvy parents must also show their kids the value of self-knowledge and self-respect through both guidance and modeling.

We must be critical thinkers who help our kids understand:

  • who they are in this world,
  • what they think, and
  • what kind of a person they want to be.

The sooner we can connect our young ones to their identities, the earlier we can connect them to their love and honoring of self.

Why is this so crucial? Because people who love and honor themselves have more successful and fulfilling lives.

Being family oriented now means loving and accepting the wholeness of each person within your family. It means modeling what it looks like and means to attend to every aspect of self by setting a good example.

Showing our children what self-love looks like

In the past, parents may have felt like the perpetual sacrifice of self for the benefit of the family unit was the only way to go, but times have changed.

Now, we need to show our children what self-love looks like.

We also need to show them that living a life of fulfillment, passion, connectedness, mental and physical wellness, and fun is not just possible but vitally important.

The only way to raise children who are doing this is to attend to our own needs and experiences.

If we want to be family oriented, we must be dedicated to our own wellness, growth, and expanded consciousness so we can light the way for our children to do the same.

That is how we raise the next generation of global citizens and compassionate leaders.

Sophie Slosarczyk

Sophie Slosarczyk

Parenting and Wellbeing Blogger, Mamas Find Your Voice

Prioritizing the values you want to see in your family

To me, being family-oriented means prioritizing the values you want to see in your family. Values such as love and empathy, connection, time together, warmth, openness, and vulnerability, amongst others. Values are what you choose with your family.

What is important to you?

It’s not enough simply to say you have these values; you need to express values to your family.

As their mother, you are the queen of your house. Many parents seem to not step up to this great role that being a parent brings.

It’s truly a gift, an honor to raise a family, and values can be at the core of a solid family dynamic, keeping you on track and reminding you how important your role as a mother is.

Values help you realign if the weariness of a long day gets to you. They help you step back and refocus your attention on what’s important right now. Values, to me, are everything.

You prioritize time well spent together

In addition, if you’re family-oriented, you prioritize time well spent together. You don’t sit scrolling your phone while your child tugs at your trouser leg, wanting your attention.

  • You focus on them.
  • You are present with them.
  • You listen.
  • You play and laugh together.
  • You make space and time to be with them wholeheartedly, rather than being distracted with your mind elsewhere.

This, to me, encompasses the true meaning of being family-oriented. It’s a beautiful thing.

You choose things based on what’s best for the whole family

I also feel that being family-oriented means you choose things based on what’s best for the whole family. Rather than being self-centric and thinking as an individual (which is common before children), you think as a unit—as a group.

Your family is you, if that makes sense?

Related: 60+ Reasons Why Family Is Important in Our Life

And this then becomes a whole new way of being. Decisions about where to go for the day, what to see, or what to eat all come down to, What’s best for us all?”

You start living outwards rather than inwards, and a new appreciation of life and the little things comes out of being like this.

Personally, this outward approach to being family-oriented to me has made motherhood the magical experience it is. The gratitude I feel every day experiencing this is immense.

It came down to a real shift in my mentality towards being a mother, thanks to being family-oriented and putting my family as my sole priority.

Arielle Martone, DPT, NCS, RYT, Mama

Arielle Martone

Physical Therapist and Yoga Teacher | Stay at Home Mama | Blogger, Find Your Way Mama

Nurturing oneself while staying in tune with the family

To be family oriented means we must put our family first, but I think there is more to it than that. I think this is a great question and an important one to visit during a time where it might seem like we are losing sight of the family unit, and by family, I’ll be referring to the nuclear family.

I think people might fear the notion of being family oriented because we fear we might lose sight of ourselves in the process.

What about our wants and needs?

To be family oriented we must drive in the direction of our family goals, values, and well-being. To do so does not mean to lose sight of yourself. On the contrary, a strong sense of self from each member of the family is vital.

It is the collective that forms the family, creating its unique make-up, structure and established goals. The family should be the place where your true self is nurtured. If this happens only in the family, then that is a good start.

When allowed to be our true selves in the family, when allowed to show up authenticity, we can create a stronger, more connected unit. Each member’s goals, values, and opinions need to be considered when coming up with the larger family goals and values.

When that happens, we can orient to the family without resentment and with full confidence. When that happens, we can keep our families in the forefront of our decision-making process, knowing we are nurturing not only the collective but each individual member.

The individuals make up the family, and the family (roles, values, goals) make up pieces of the individuals.

What does this look like?

When you are family oriented, your family goals and values are like a lighthouse. They are the beacon steering and guiding the several unique ships (family members) along their own course. This allows for safe passage and for all ships to get to the destination.

If individuals in the family remain self-oriented, those ships get off course; collisions can occur. To be family oriented, each family member must make that commitment. Success for one becomes a success for all and vice versa.

It is not always easy but definitely worth it.

How to check if you are family oriented?

Look at the decisions you are making in your life.

  • What is the goal?
  • How does that goal play into your family goals?
    • Does it?
    • If not, and you want to refocus to become family oriented you need to reevaluate your choices and goals.
  • Can you reframe them to fit into your family goals?
  • Do you need to revisit your family goals or revisit your own?

By nurturing oneself while staying in tune with the family, we can create stronger family units.

Jessie Synan

Jessie Synan

CEO and Founder, Pray With Confidence

Focusing on what each one in your family needs and your family unit as a whole

Family-oriented is more simple than we think. To be family-oriented means we are focused on our family’s needs. This may sound almost too simple to us, but it’s true.

We can go to every birthday party, every soccer game, and more, but if we are not focusing on these two things, we may be missing the mark:

  • Being in tune with the needs of every individual family member
  • Being in tune with the needs of the family as a collective whole

If we take time to focus on what each one in our family needs and our family unit as a whole, we are family-oriented.

Keep in mind this may be different from our family’s “wants.” For example, if my six-year-old son wants every Pokémon card that there is, that has absolutely nothing to do with being family-oriented.

However, if I can see that he has a need for more outside time to get his energy out and then follow through with that need, that is turning my thoughts to what he needs, and most likely what my whole family needs too.

How to know if you are family-oriented: a checklist

If you are debating if you are family-oriented, try this quick checklist:

  • Think about yesterday. Did it center around your needs or what the family needed?
    • Note: Center doesn’t mean revolving. Not every moment needs to be about your family. But what was at the center of it all?
  • Think about yesterday:
    • How many times did your family ask you for something?
    • Are they coming to you with requests?
    • How do you respond?
  • If someone asked you what your top priorities in life are, what would your true answer be?

Are you still family-oriented if you didn’t match the checklist above?

To be honest, that is an answer solely for you. If you stumbled here because you were trying to see if you are family-oriented, there might be something tugging at your heart about where your family priorities are.

Instead of feeling guilt or shame about your family life, take small steps towards change. Make this the week that instead of changing everything, you make one small pivot toward being more family-oriented.

Drop all guilt to focus on that one small change.

Wait until that small change becomes a habit. Once it does, pick another small thing to change. Just like it’s healthier to lose weight gradually, it is healthier (and longer-lasting) to create lifelong habits versus trying to change all at once.

Related: What Is a Habit and How Is It Formed?

“I think I’m family-oriented, but (so-and-so) says….”

There are few things worse than an outside friend or family member questioning what goes on in our family.

If you are here because someone may have hinted, or flat out said, that you weren’t family-oriented, please keep a few things in mind:

  • Do you normally trust that person’s advice? If you normally don’t honor their advice, be careful to take to heart what they say about you and your family.
  • What was the context or intention of them bringing this up? Did this person say it in a kind way or a judgmental type of way?

Only you can decide if you are family-oriented. If we all take some time to evaluate where we are in our focus on our family, we will take the steps to make sure we are providing for our families in the best ways possible.

Mariela Meakes

Mariela Meakes

Business Owner and Blogger | Wife and Mother

Putting your family first in all you do and in every decision you make

Would a family-oriented person ever move away from family? At first glance, this may seem like a Yes or No question, but in real life, things are far more complex and do not always make sense to an outsider.

By definition, a family-oriented person will always put family first in all they do and in every decision they make. They value the well-being of the family as a whole rather than merely considering their own interests.

So given the circumstances, moving away could be the help his/her family needs.

As a family-oriented daughter, I had to make the tough decision of moving more than 3000 miles away from my family to another country. It was the only way I could provide for my parents, my siblings, and their children. I miss them every day, but nothing gives me more pleasure than caring for them.

I am now a wife and mother of two amazing children, which has made me value family even more. To me, it is more than simply loving my family. It is a way of life and part of my family culture.

It is very important to regularly spend time together with family, get involved in each other’s lives and work together to overcome family challenges. These daily investments will create strong bonds and place a high value on family.

Family is one of the most important aspects of life, but it takes work to maintain these important relationships.

Creating a happy, safe, and supportive space

Everyone’s definition of “family-oriented” will differ somewhat.

For most, the term usually refers to:

  • Someone who puts a strong emphasis on their family life and relationships.
  • Those who make every effort to create a happy, supportive home environment for their loved ones at the expense of their desires.

A happy and supportive environment will not mean the same to everyone and will not be achieved the same way.

If you are a family-oriented person or want to be, take into consideration the personality of each member of your family to create their definition of a happy and safe environment.

Putting the needs of your family above your own can be difficult, and it does not come naturally to everyone.

However, family-oriented people recognize the importance of making family a top priority, and they work hard to ensure that their family is well cared for emotionally as well as physically.

Someone who desires a supportive, loving, and close-knit family

Other ways of saying someone is family-oriented are family-focused, family-centered, or family-based. No matter how you name it, that person will desire a supportive, loving, and close-knit family.

Building a close connection with your loved ones and a sense of belonging within your family can be challenging. As selfless individuals, family-focused people end up caring for others which can take a lot of time and energy, reducing considerably the time that person has for self-care.

When all family members prioritize family, the responsibility is shared and lightened, but things can get rough when the situation is different.

In families where only one parent is family-oriented, the responsibility for keeping the family happy and strong will sit heavily on that person’s shoulders. With time, this will become consuming and create a feeling of being unappreciated.

While all family-oriented people are different in personalities, they tend to share some characteristics and behaviors:

  • Selflessness
  • Strong family values
  • Enjoy being involved with immediate and extended family
  • Very loyal
  • Supportive
  • Quick to offer help or advice
  • Value meaningful relationships with their loved ones
  • Kind
  • Not afraid of commitment

A family-oriented person vs. a narcissist

A narcissistic family member is a family-oriented person’s worst nightmare.

A narcissist will put their own needs and desires above everyone else to make sure their ego is fed. They need constant attention and validation and will go to any length to get it, even if it means destroying family bonds. They are on the opposite side of the spectrum, and these two personalities can not coexist in peace and harmony.

It is like adding water to a fire: eventually, enough water will put it out.

From my personal experience, the relationship between a family-oriented person and a narcissist becomes unbearable and will affect the entire family.

No matter if it is between a parent and a child, a couple, or extended family, chaos will follow, and the family-focused person will be manipulated into constantly doing damage control.

Related: How a Narcissistic Parent Affects a Child

It becomes exhausting as the narcissist gradually takes over by demanding the most attention and loyalty, usually by insulting the other family members, floating the family’s rules, and manipulating them.

This directly affects the dynamic and relationships within the family, making it almost impossible for the family-oriented member to create a strong family bond.

A family-oriented mother told me once that living with her narcissist child was like being in an abusive relationship.

The family felt like they were walking on eggshells around that child. The endless complaining about her everyday life and her inability to understand how her behavior was influencing the rest of the family, was emotionally draining, and triggered unnecessary self-criticism, especially for the mother.

Narcissists are very hard to deal with, especially for a family-oriented person, because the only choice you have is to limit your time together, avoid them, or always have someone else with you when around that person.

The clash between these two very differing views of self and family can be heartbreaking for the family-oriented person.

While it is not common for a family-oriented person to feel lonely, you may feel alone when dealing with such a self-absorbed family member. Experts recommend getting support from professionals and/or friends.

The negative criticisms, self-centeredness, deprecating remarks, and demands for adoration can all shatter your self-esteem and be tiring. But remember, you are family-oriented, and your values are to reach out to the places of love and support that you have nurtured over time.

Sarah Roberts

Sarah Roberts

Parenting and Motherhood Blogger, Snugglebug Life

Being family oriented is the dedication to your loved ones’ personal growth

Spending time with family and being interested in their lives is wonderful. Speaking with them when you’re apart and involving them in your decisions is terrific. But being family oriented is so much more than just enjoying your family and being in their company.

No, it is much more than that.

When family is a foundational aspect of your life, a dedication to the personal growth of each of their wants and needs is fundamental.

Sometimes this looks like:

  • A parent curbing their desire to yell at their toddler for a poor decision and instead use the moment to help their child learn from the situation.
  • Maybe it’s a spouse supporting a job change that won’t be as financially lucrative, but it supports a need for learning new things or using their talents.
  • It could even be divorced parents who sit together at their children’s sporting or academic events.

Every person wants to be known, loved, and supported. We want to be allowed to grow and change — to make decisions, both good and bad. And most of all, we want a safe place to go when that growth happens.

Having a safe and loving home to return to each day — where you can be loved and known and allowed to be completely yourself is a critical aspect of your personal growth and development.

Sometimes growth comes from pain — like a major loss that teaches you how strong you are.

When family is a foundational part of your life and who you are, part of the thing that makes that growth safe and manageable is knowing that the people you love are there for you.

They’ll support you and hold you up so that those experiences can benefit you.

Sometimes it comes from an incredible blessing — like bringing a child home. The amount of learning you do as a parent is incredible. And while your child is growing, so are the parents.

Being family oriented means that your family is there for you — sometimes in big ways like helping with the children, sometimes in small ways like asking about how you’re feeling and how the transition is going.

It means that you and your spouse lean on each other

It also means that you and your spouse lean on each other, encouraging each other in the difficult moments and rejoicing together when your child says their first word.

Growth can be a wonderful thing. We all experience it, sometimes alone and sometimes with a strong support system. But if you want to make your family know they’re loved, known, and cared for deeply, being invested in their personal growth is foundational to that relationship.

Maryna Shkvorets

Maryna Shkvorets

Mindful Parenting Advocate | Founder and President, Mars and Stars Baby

Making space and time for your family even though you have other things going on

While anyone could say that they love their family, the better question is do they prioritize them? Being family-oriented isn’t just about being there through the hard times or coming up with the most thoughtful gift.

It’s about making space and time for your family even though you have other things going on.

What about going after your own goals?

Every person should have and pursue their own goals. It’s what keeps us happy, and of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, sometimes people who prioritize their ambitions — be they professional or otherwise — tend to put their family by the wayside.

It’s not a lack of love; it’s a shift in attention that goes from being short-term to long-term.

Of course, you should go after what you want out of life, and if you’re family-oriented, you will balance your ambitions with being present with your family. You can always make space for your family as long as you remember that they’re your priority.

How can I become more family-oriented

If you truly want to become more family-oriented, the best place to start is to regularly check in with yourself and ask, How can I serve my family today? By doing this, you’ll train your brain to prioritize and focus on your family.

You could also:

  • Ask your family members in what ways they need you.
  • Make a point to give each family member individual and undivided attention.
  • Ask yourself if someone has been picking up the slack for you in your family and how you can find more balance.

Get centered about why you want to be family-oriented

Lastly, for people who are on a mission to become more family-oriented, I’d recommend taking a moment and getting centered about why you want to do this.

Ultimately, it’s probably because you don’t want to regret creating a rift that cannot be repaired.

By getting centered about why you want this for yourself, you’ll make it easier to course-correct anytime old habits get in the way, and you lose focus on what matters most to you.

Karen Zerbini

Karen Zerbini

Content Creator and Owner, Supper Sanity

Developing open communication to establish trust among the tribe

Family-oriented people seem straightforward; they spend quality time with family members and enjoy family life—someone who has a goal to be balanced with all obligations and keep family matters as a priority.

As a person whose been married for 40+ years to one man and mother to three brilliant daughters, I have some experience with families. I also have a grandson, three siblings, and a mother, so the family is multi-generational. Many live far away. It takes determination to stay connected.

What are the characteristics?

A few traits stand out in my mind as characteristics of a family-oriented person:

  • Ability to schedule family time and listen to the family members during the occasion
  • Skill to encourage family members to participate in events
  • Talent to delegate household duties to avoid burnout and stress
  • Flair for developing open communication to establish trust among the tribe
  • Remembers to show appreciation and love

Why are these traits important?

  • Listening: Being present and allowing others to tell their story will give loved ones a sense of belonging. Make a dinnertime rule—no devices during dinner and ask everyone, how was your day?

Related: 50+ Reasons Why Listening Is Important

  • Participation: Getting everyone to participate in an event will cause all to have a memorable experience. Plan a family event with everyone’s input.
  • Delegating: Giving chores and tasks will provide a sense of accomplishment and give a break to the household head. Create a chore chart.
  • Trust: Establish judgment-free communication. Share a situation when you were vulnerable. This helps set the stage for transparent discussions.
  • Show Love: Feeling love and appreciation is everyone’s desire. Hug, kiss, and say thank you every day!

There are more characteristics of a family-oriented person. Any effort to balance home and career will be rewarding.

Eric Rodriguez

Eric Rodriguez

Public Health Leader | Mayor and Councilman, City of San Mateo, California | Co-founder and CEO, Innerbody Research

Most of us will be familiar with the phrase’ family first’ but it is difficult to know those of us who actually mean it.

This is not me proclaiming that we are lying to each other and ourselves; this is me illustrating how we do not always understand the extent of ‘family first’ and how it can positively impact our health and wellbeing.

Making time for family after a long day of work

We all live in such a busy and non-stop society, and this ultimately means that family time can be difficult to come by — but it is something that is treasured more because of this.

Who doesn’t want to be there for those special quality bonding moments with your family? After a long day of work, there can be nothing better than just relaxing with your family.

The main challenge that comes from finding family time is actually making time in a busy day-to-day life. Making time for family after a long day of work can be tricky, and it can be hard to find the energy to interact with your family.

It sounds bad to say, but if you’re exhausted, then your social battery won’t just keep running.

But, it is really important to make time for your family. The truth of the matter is that being family orientated is something that is vital to our emotional wellbeing; spending time with the people you love can help boost your mood.

This is why it’s a subject that I am so passionate about.

Being family-oriented will mean that as an individual, you are much more mentally and emotionally present — not just when you are spending time with your family, but in your work life too.

This is how you will keep your family bonds especially strong for a prolonged period of time, and you will find that this has a positive influence on your life as a whole.

Ultimately, I have spent a lot of time thinking about being family-oriented from a health and wellness perspective. And, I have concluded that spending quality time with your family is something that will undoubtedly boost your emotional wellbeing.

If you share a close bond with your family, then this is something that will positively impact your life.

By spending time with your family, enjoying their company, and appreciating that they are choosing to spend time with you even when they are tired after a long day at work — you will all strengthen the bond that you have between you all.

This is something that creates secure foundations for young children — and it is also something that can make you feel genuinely content. That is what spending time with your family is all about.

Joshua Davis

Joshua Davis

Founder, Outdoor Family HQ

Being family-centered is a journey rather than a destination

Any rookie parent has to struggle through the transition from living the so-called “free” life of looking after “Number One” to balancing self-care with caring for those they are bringing into the world.

It’s more than a philosophy; it’s a way of life.

Many parents tend to pivot between two great extremes:

  • Remaining ego-centric to the point of neglecting their children or,
  • Becoming so totally engrossed in putting their children first that they abdicate their unique identity as an individual, neglecting themselves.

Neither of these can be a working, healthy family model because both are based on the same illusory premise: it either enforces the idea that you, as the parent, are the center of the universe, or it teaches your kids that they are.

It means putting your whole family first, excluding no one

Being family-centered means putting your whole family first, excluding no one. It means that as often as possible, engaging in activities that include everyone and, at times, requiring individuals to forego their preferences in the interest of supporting another’s desires and endeavors.

It is a balancing act, one that requires years of practice and continuous improvement and one that is never mastered. Thus, it is a journey and one that you, as the parent, lay the groundwork for and that your children will continue with their families.

The key to being family-centered is communication.

When everyone in the family feels like they can openly share their thoughts, feelings, and needs, it creates a strong foundation of support. Furthermore, it allows for greater understanding and empathy amongst family members.

Lastly, clear communication establishes expectations and sets boundaries, which are essential for a healthy family dynamic.

Each individual feels connected to and supportive of one another

There are many ways to be family-centered. Some families choose to do all of their activities together, while others allow for more individual time. What is most important is that each individual feels connected to and supportive of one another.

Being family-centered does not mean that you have to sacrifice your own needs and wants. It is important to take time for yourself so that you can be your best self and provide guidance and support to your family.

This could include taking time for hobbies, exercising, socializing with friends, or spending time alone.

At the end of the day, being family-centered is about creating a sense of belonging and connectedness within your family. Whether you are a parent or child, it is important to feel supported and valued within your family unit.

So if you are looking for ways to strengthen your family bond, start by communicating openly, setting boundaries, and making time for self-care. With dedication and commitment, you can create a loving and supportive family environment that will last a lifetime.

Kate Tunstall

Kate Tunstal

Personal Growth and Mindful Motherhood Advocate | Editor, Refined Prose

I’m an advocate of respectful and compassionate parenting and a strong believer that our parenting is at its best when we prioritize self-care.

Having the welfare of your family at the core of every decision you make

Being family oriented means having the welfare of your family at the core of every decision you make and every action you take.

For me, it also means taking good care of myself, although it took me some time to appreciate this. Unfortunately, it seems to be one of those situations that you have to experience in order to fully recognize its truth!

As good parents, we position our children at the center of our world. It’s not a conscious decision; it’s simply an organic process. But in doing so, we naturally tend to place ourselves and our own needs at the bottom of the pile.

It’s an easy dynamic for family oriented parents to slip into and is often a particular issue for the stay-at-home parent.

And yet, over time, this family setup becomes unsustainable.

Making sure nobody’s needs are being neglected

This situation can eventually lead to emotional and/or physical burnout for the parent/s, and when that happens, nobody wins.

That’s why being truly family oriented looks like the children are being prioritized — but nobody’s needs are being neglected.

It’s wonderful when parents and children can recharge together as a unit, and this can sometimes work perfectly, reinforcing family connections. But it’s also important to acknowledge when this doesn’t quite cut it and to make time for the things that help you to personally recalibrate.

Self-care has become a bit of a buzzword, but that’s because it’s so fundamental to well-being — on a personal level, but also beyond that.

Because if one or both parents’ needs go unmet, it will ultimately be reflected in how well the children’s needs are met.

It’s vital to continue nurturing your romantic relationship

In addition to prioritizing the children and taking care of your own needs, there’s one more critical aspect to being family oriented: It’s also vital to continue nurturing your romantic relationship.

When children arrive, not only is the dynamic of the original partnership upended, but by necessity, it’s also deprioritized, and there’s significantly less time available for it.

While this is inevitable and survivable, it’s important that when circumstances allow, quality time is reinvested into the relationship.

This is a key component of being family oriented because it’s one of the best ways to underpin the bond with your partner, which ultimately provides children with a strong foundation of stability and security.

Felicia Graves

Felicia Graves

Practical Homemaking, Modest Living, and Biblical Encouragement Blogger

A general definition of being family oriented would be someone who puts his or her family first, but personally, I feel that being family oriented goes beyond this general descriptor.

To me, being family oriented means that a large part of your family culture has a strong emphasis on family values and the relationships within the family. There are certain attributes that stand out as being characteristics of someone who is family oriented.

Characteristics of family oriented people:

Being truly present with your loved ones when you are with them

I do not believe that you must spend all of your free time with your family but that the time you do spend with them is prioritized and meaningful.

You show that you are committed to the relationships within your family and that you enjoy the time spent together. Being truly present with your loved ones when you are with them is a great way to accomplish this.

Speaking with love and truly listening to our family members

The way we speak to people matters. Taking the time to not only speak with love but, even more importantly, to truly listen to our family members is one of the ways that we demonstrate how much we value them.

When we make the extra effort to show this respect and concern for our family, we are making them a priority and showing them how much they mean to us.

Refraining from neglecting your needs and being sure to recharge your batteries

Taking care of your family means taking care of yourself. Self-care has become somewhat of a buzzword lately, but nevertheless, true self-care is important.

I often try to remind and encourage moms that you cannot pour from an empty cup. If you want to be the best mother/wife/daughter/sister that you can be, then you need to care for yourself.

If you are not taking care of yourself, then not only are you not set up to successfully care for others, but you might become a source of worry or even overwhelm those you love the most. This does not mean you should never ask for help or lean on your family’s support.

Rather, I want to encourage you to refrain from neglecting your needs and be sure to recharge your batteries.

These are the main characteristics that come to mind when I think of someone who is family oriented. The meaning of being family oriented has changed and evolved into the modern view that is held today, but the spirit and the love have remained much the same.

Theresa Bertuzzi

Theresa Bertuzzi

Chief Program Development Officer | Co-founder, Tiny Hoppers

Being willing to sacrifice certain things in your life so that your family can thrive

My definition of being family-oriented has been shaped through my work in the childcare space. Being family-oriented is about more than just caring for your children. It’s about making sure that everyone’s needs are met and that the family unit is stable and secure.

Formerly, my definition of family-oriented was someone who put the needs of their family ahead of their own – Now, I see that is only part of it.

  • Being completely family-oriented is also about wanting the absolute best for your family.
  • It’s about wanting what’s best for your family, even putting yourself second or third in line.
  • It’s about wanting what’s best for your spouse or partner, and not just because of your wedding vows.
  • It’s about understanding that marriage and parenthood are not one-way streets but rather a partnership where both parties have to put in the effort if they want things to work out.

Being family-oriented means that you’re willing to sacrifice certain things in your life so that your family can thrive.

It means doing things like taking care of the housework so your partner can focus on their job, watching the kids while they get extra sleep, or going out of town instead of staying home when you’d rather stay in bed all day because you’re sick.

Family orientation also means being willing to compromise when necessary – even if it goes against what you want personally.

For example, if one parent wants to go out on Saturday night while the other wants to stay home and watch TV, they might agree to go out Friday night instead so they can spend time doing the activity that both partners want.

Compromising where necessary is an important part of wanting what’s best for you and yours.

Parents who come to our daycare centers strive for the best for their families. They ask questions about our curriculum, activities, and resources to ensure that their children get the absolute best in care.

The fact that the parents are considering daycare options usually means that they are out working to provide the best for their family, day in and day out.

Through my interactions with families and their children, I can see the desire to provide one another with what’s best; in care, support, home life, work-life, and every other aspect of the family.

To me, that’s what being family-oriented is; Striving to provide them with the best, whatever that looks like for you, because it’s different for everyone.

Kelly Treibitz

Kelly Treibitz

Parent Coach | COO and Director of Parent Programs, Emerge Consulting Solutions

Family expectations vary widely and for many reasons. Families from different cultures or different parts of the country have different views. However, there are some ideas that should be the basics of what it means to be family oriented.

Spending your day-to-day with your family to create a feeling of connection

Perhaps the easiest place to start is with how you spend your time. While you don’t have to want to be with your family 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you do have to spend time with them.

Quantity time, not quality time, is what you need to focus on.

I know it might sound counter to what is suggested, but more important than those special but sporadic quality time moments is the day-to-day hours spent with your family.

The vacations spent at family amusement parks are great and certainly will be a great memory. But, the time spent sitting on the couch asking your kids about their day or listening as they explain a video game creates a feeling of connection that goes deeper and stays with them.

Decisions need to be made with family as the number one priority

While you don’t have to be with your family ALL the time to be family oriented, you do have to make your decisions based on them.

Decision-making is another important basic. We make decisions based on many things, but important ones; ones that affect your whole family, need to be made with family as the number one priority.

Things like where to go on vacation and how you should budget your money are examples of decisions that need to start with what is best for your family, not just what you want.

Betsy Brook

Betsy Brook

Homeschooling Mom | Blogger, Little Beauties Home

Sharing the same family values

Growing up, both my husband and I had very family-oriented up-bringing. We both come from large, very close & involved families. So when we had our own children, we already had a shared foundation of the importance of family.

When our firstborn was ready for preschool, then pre-k, and then kindergarten, we took the steps all of our friends and families had done before us.

We enrolled her in a wonderful preschool & pre-k program and then into our town’s highly accredited public school. As the first few years went by, we got caught up in the hustle and bustle.

We realized not only how little time we had together as a family at the end of the day (after school and sports/activities) but also how it seemed her childhood had been sped up.

Valuing the time spent together

We felt the pull to have more family time and give our children a longer, slower childhood. So, having no homeschooling experience at all, we took a huge leap of faith and gave homeschooling a try.

It was & still is a big decision each year, but one we are all loving more and more.

Being able to spend our days together has been a huge gift and a wonderful example of what I feel being family oriented means to our family.

Every decision we make is centered around what we feel will be best for our family. In fact, my husband has declined several promotions in his career that would involve extensive travel; being together is what we value the most.

Susan Carin

Susan Carin

Marketing Manager, Drsono

An individual who is happy and committed to spending time with his family

It all depends on what you consider to be family. It is possible to consider your friends as a family if you are close enough to you and you clearly have blood relatives.

My opinion is that being family-focused is to place family first and to be someone who wants to settle and build an existence and take care of the ones they love.

Family is one of the most important institutions in society. It is the basic unit of society and plays a vital role in the development of individuals.

A family is a group of people who are related to each other by blood, marriage, or adoption. It is a place where individuals find love, support, and security.

Families provide a sense of identity and belonging. They teach values and morals that help children grow into responsible adults. Families are important for socializing children and teaching them how to interact with others.

What does it mean to be family-oriented?

The definition of family-oriented is broad and can mean different things to different people.

For some, it may mean being close with their parents and spending time with them regularly. For others, it may mean being part of a large extended family that they are close with.

Still, others may define family-oriented as being devoted to their own children and doing everything they can to raise them well.

No matter how someone defines it, though, one common thread is that family comes first for those who are family-oriented. They often put their relationships within their families ahead of anything else in their lives. It’s true, of course.

There are plenty of people who put their jobs first, their children first, and everything else second. The difference is that these people still value their family relationships and will do whatever they can to make sure those relationships stay strong.

For me, it’s an individual who is happy and committed to spending time with his family and friends and being an ally (emotionally, physically, as well as emotionally) of his family members, wife, and children.

The benefits of being family-oriented:

There are many benefits to being family-oriented. One such benefit is that it helps to build strong relationships within the family.

  • When you are making important decisions that may impact your family members, think about the advantages of your family first.
  • Spending time together allows for open communication and strengthens the bonds between family members.
  • Family orientation can also help children learn how to interact with others and develop important life skills.
  • Families that are close often provide emotional support to each other during difficult times.

Being family-oriented can create a sense of belonging and security, which is beneficial for both children and adults. Ultimately, having a close-knit family can make everyone feel happier and more fulfilled.

How to become more family-oriented:

The family is the basic foundation of society. Unfortunately, in recent years the family unit has been breaking down. There are many things that can contribute to this, such as working long hours, financial difficulties, and technology.

However, there are ways to become more family-oriented and repair the damage that has been done.

One way to become more family-oriented is by setting aside time each day to spend with your family. This can be done by eating dinner together or playing games. You can also create traditions that you do as a family, such as going on picnics or watching fireworks on the 4th of July.

Spending time together will help strengthen your bond and create memories that you will cherish for years to come.

Another way to become more family-oriented is by being more involved in your children’s lives.

Jaimee Campanella

Jaimee Campanella

Time Strategist & Productivity Consultant | Creator, Time Power Program

Living the best life around your family’s needs

Parents who are family-oriented prioritize living their best life around their family’s needs. They decided to have a family, so they take responsibility for that choice and create a joyful life around this decision.

You rarely hear family-oriented parents act like the victims of parenting (e.g., complaining about how they need to take care of a million things, how tired they are, etc.) because they embrace the choice and responsibilities that come along with having a family.

There is a sense of greatness in leading a life where you are considering your family unit as a whole and how you will grow, learn and expand as a unit with care and great attention.

What does being a family-oriented employer mean?

Employers who are family-oriented embrace and acknowledge that their employees who have families need to be treated with the exceptional care they deserve.

When you hire an employee with a family, you know what comes with the territory – needing to be especially flexible, accommodating, and embracing the family life the employee has chosen.

For a company that is family-oriented, they don’t see these as “expectations” but as support for the critical role child-rearing entails—and how this choice should be rewarded and not chastised.

Lauren Vacey

Lauren Vacey

Artist & Entrepreneur, ilaStrate | Homeschool Mom

Rethinking career goals to build and nurture your family

I took my first job out of college at an art consulting firm and was well on my way to seeing that dream unfold. My husband and I got married, and two years later, our daughter was born.

This changed everything for myself and my husband.

As a teen, I had even resolved that I would never have children—so this was a big jolt for me. There are two paths a person can take in this situation, push forward and leave their children to be raised by nannies, family members, daycare centers, etc.

I had not realized how rewarding having a child would be, and now I have three! I wanted to spend as much time with them as I could—they grew up so fast.

I quickly went from workaholic to mom-mode, slowly winding down from overtime to full-time to part-time, eventually starting my own business to be home with my children. At the same time, my husband focused on work and also had to adjust his career goals.

This led to us homeschooling pre-pandemic because we felt we could give our children a better education. Everything my husband and I do is for them, for their future, for their health and wellbeing—and that, I believe, is the heart of what it means to be family-oriented.

Devoting your life not to work or self-service but to nurturing your family as a whole, including yourself and their future.

Spending time with extended family is also very important to us as a family unit; having close relationships with those we love is invaluable to our wellbeing. These relationships are priceless and instill moral values and social interactions that cannot be taught, only learned by experience.

Our life is very much centered around what our family needs, individually and as a unit, to grow and prosper, to be there for each other, and to support one another.

This way of life definitely goes against the modern idea of family in America, but it is how I was raised. Being from a large Italian family, I remember and cherish the great times I had with all of my family, and I want to create those experiences for my children.

I think there are many important life lessons, stories, and memories to be made when you live a life that is family oriented.

David Mason

David Mason

Interior Designer | Owner, Knobs

Making sure that you’re maintaining good communication with your family members

Being family-oriented means appreciating the importance of your family, and wanting to maintain close relationships with them. It also involves making sure that you are maintaining good communication with your family members, who are an important part of the support system in your life.

It’s healthy to have a strong sense of family bonding and to work at maintaining those relationships.

Some of the positive characteristics you might associate with being family-oriented include:

  • developing an appreciation for your heritage,
  • feeling a sense of belonging and community,
  • and having strong relationships with your siblings, parents, grandparents, and other family members.

Maintaining your relationships with your extended family members

You might also consider yourself to be family-oriented if you place a high priority on maintaining your relationships with your extended family members, including cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Some people might say that being family-oriented also means putting your family’s needs above your own and making sacrifices for them.

Of course, there is no one right way to be family-oriented. What’s important is that you find what works for you and your family and that you feel connected to the people who are important to you.

John Lagoudakis

John Lagoudakis

Founder and CEO, Digital Marketing Agency

It means that every member of the family is given equal respect and responsibilities

Being family oriented means that all decisions you make are framed within what will be most beneficial to your family. It also means that every member of the family is given equal respect and responsibilities.

Setting the right foundation

Before we got married, my wife and I discussed what our priorities were going to be and what our family life would look like.

We asked ourselves questions like:

  • Who would control finances?
  • How much time would we spend with extended family?
  • How many children would we have?
  • Where would we live?
  • How would we provide income for our family?
  • How would we raise our children?

Each spouse respects the other as an equal partner in the relationship

Being family oriented means that each spouse respects the other as an equal partner in the relationship.

While each might have different responsibilities, they work together to help each other fulfill those responsibilities. They cherish each other and look after each other.

If the family is our main focus, we make time for our family

A person who is family oriented makes time for the family. When something is important to us, we make time for it. If the family is our main focus, we make time for our family.

We take the time to go on dates and spend quality time with our spouse and with each of our children. We also set aside time that we will spend together as a family. This might mean that we always have dinner around the table without devices. Or it might mean that we set aside one evening each week to do something together as a family.

Preparing our children

Another part of being family oriented is helping our children to prepare to raise families of their own. This means giving them responsibilities that help them contribute to the running of your own family and help them prepare to be a responsible and loving spouse and parent themselves.

Jennifer Aube, M.S., CFP®, ChFC®

Jennifer Aube

Vice President and Financial Advisor, Wironen Aube Wealth Management

Thinking of my family when I process decisions

Being family oriented has many meanings. For me, being family oriented means thinking of my family when I process decisions. When considering my career choices, meal choices, etc., I try to factor in both the short and the long term.

I recently pivoted in my career path. While my former career was comfortable and appropriate for the short term, I realized that it could potentially limit my family time in the future. I decided to take a risk and make a change in order to better set my family up for the long term.

This change is a short-term sacrifice for potential long-term gains that will be advantageous to my ability to be hands-on with my children and future grandchildren.

I look toward having work-life integration in my day-to-day life.

I am often found on a conference call with a client while driving my daughter to volleyball practice or sitting at the kitchen counter on a Saturday evening wrapping up paperwork that did not get completed on Friday due to leaving early to attend a lacrosse game.

My day begins at 4:30 am when I empty the dishwasher, work out, read, respond to emails that came in overnight, and get my head straight for the day. Once the kids are up, I can be present for them and the breakfast hour as well as driving everyone to school.

Being a role model for my children

Everything we do in life is being observed. Although children may not verbalize that they are watching, rest assured they are. Your behaviors are a model to your children.

Being family oriented incorporates being a role model for my children and making good decisions every single day. It’s also about demonstrating good work ethics and morals.

Be intentional with everything you do; your legacy will impact generations to come

The legacy I leave will be passed through generations, both monetarily and non. Spoken and unspoken values, habits, routines, etc., are passed through generations without much thought given.

For me, being family oriented means being intentional with everything I do, knowing that the legacy of my life will impact generations to come.

Cornelius Fichtner

Cornelius Fichtner

President, OSP International LLC

You enjoy the company of your loved ones

Whether you’re open to marriage or not, being family-oriented means enjoying the company of your loved ones. Your family is your home and where you seek refuge after a long day at work. These people don’t really enjoy being alone.

Family-oriented people prioritize their family traditions

Family-oriented people prioritize their family traditions and wouldn’t give them up for anything! They’d much rather have a traditional family gettogether on Saturday or a game of football on a Sunday than grab a beer with some friends.

Your finances are also “family first”

Your finances are also “family first.” Before thinking about yourself, you’d catch yourself thinking about your kids, wife, sister, etc. This makes you emotionally dependent, and so you think twice before spending on yourself.

You consider everyone else’s opinion before making an important decision

Before making an important decision, you don’t just consider yourself and what you want. You’re going to consider everyone else’s opinion too. That includes more compromise and tolerance.

Mike Falahee

Mike Falahee

President, Marygrove Awnings Co.

Being family oriented is something you express without any effort or deliberation

You’ll often hear that being family-oriented means loving your family unconditionally and sticking together no matter what. And while that is, of course, true, I believe it misses a much more important point.

Being truly family-oriented is a state of mind in that it’s something you express without any effort or deliberation. It’s the state of putting your family members first no matter the circumstances and willingly sacrificing your own wants and needs to provide for your closest ones.

It’s a selfless act that often goes unnoticed, but it doesn’t matter since you’re not doing it for gratitude.

It can’t be learned

There are certainly people who put in a lot of effort and who want what’s best for their families. However, that’s exactly what you’d expect from someone who decided to start a family, but it’s not being family-oriented per se.

It’s the type of value instilled in you from the earliest age, and you either feel this need to put your family first, or you don’t.

Richard J. Brandenstein

Richard J. Brandenstein

Attorney and FBR Law partner, Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C.

When it comes to being family-oriented, this means that you put your family first and that they are very important to you. Being focused on your family and striving to do all that you can for them is a big part of being family-oriented.

Here are some other aspects of this too:

The decisions you make are made in a way that will benefit your family

Decision-making is a significant part of being family-oriented. This means that the decisions you make are made in a way that will benefit your family.

You always want what’s best for them, and as a result of this, your decisions will reflect that.

Doing all you can to ensure your family feels comfortable in life

Someone who is family-oriented has a deep love and care for their family. They will do all they can to ensure their family feels safe, happy, and comfortable in life.

Even if this means sacrificing some of their own needs in order to best serve their family, family-oriented people tend to do this.

Jane Kallinger

Jane Kallinger

Editor, Sewing From Home

It’s about being physically and emotionally present

Family orientation refers to the importance that a family places on its relationships and its ability to function as a unit. Families that are oriented towards one another tend to be more supportive, cooperative, and happy.

They are also more likely to have healthier relationships and experience less conflict.

Another important approach to family orientation to consider is through the lens of queer theory. We live in an increasingly diverse world, and not all families look the same.

Queer theory posits that there is no one correct way to be a family and that all families are constructed in different ways. This perspective allows for a more inclusive view of family, which can be beneficial for LGBTQ+ individuals and families who may not feel accepted by traditional definitions of family.

Whatever your definition of family, being family orientated is at its very core all about appreciating the relationships you have with each other. It’s about being physically and emotionally present and being committed to your relationships.

You can demonstrate your commitment to each other in small but meaningful ways and by simply enjoying spending time together.

Family oriented activities are meant to:

  • nurture and strengthen relationships,
  • build memories, and
  • remind us why we want to spend time with each other.

This can include family dinners, watching a football game together, or simply getting together to share hobbies and interests.

Sitting and knitting together with my own family members has often provided a comfortable space for uncomfortable conversations as well as simply just enjoying some quality time together.

Being family oriented is a great way of protecting all that is important to us and experiencing a happier and more supported life.

GV Divya

GV Divya

Senior Writer of Spirituality, Meditation, and Relationships, os.me

This is something you may or may not know about. There are five parts of our lives that are the most important and should be prioritized.

They are:

  • Relationships and Families
  • Physical Fitness
  • Wealth and Financial Satisfaction
  • Mental Fortitude
  • Prosperity in Work and Career

If you want to live a happy and fulfilled life, you should always strike a balance between these five components.

However, every now and again, we become so engrossed in one or two aspects of our lives that we lose sight of the others. For example, suppose we have a critical project that must be completed in one week.

And at that time, we will devote all of our attention to the work aspects while ignoring the other four. And that’s ok sometimes but not every time. That is a huge issue.

That’s why, If we want to have a happy life, we must prioritize our family and live family-oriented.

Your mother can be your love cupid, assisting you in your positive relationship. Your father can be your party buddy; your brother can be a health critic; your sister can be your fashion designer.

Your family is the perfect place to be yourself while exploring everything that life has to offer.

Making sure they feel seen, heard, and accepted for who they are

Family-oriented refers to someone who places their family at the center of all they do and every decision they make. A family-oriented individual sincerely cares about each family member and makes sure they feel seen, heard, and accepted for who they are.

Are you a family-oriented person? If not, you can still be one.

Five ways to become a more family-oriented individual

How do you develop a sense of family?

Being a more family-oriented person may appear to be a difficult task in our hectic lives, but it does not have to be. A few easy decisions may bring our whole families closer together.

It may take some time and effort, but try implementing the five action steps listed below.

Be present during crucial moments

We may be unable to attend every birthday party or Thanksgiving meal.

However, make every effort to arrange significant events, such as a family gettogether or a picnic on the weekend. Be there for those who matter.

Make time for family

Every week, schedule regular family time. Plan a game night, treasure hunt, or Netflix, and chill! Alternatively, vary the topic of your family time every week.

It doesn’t matter what you do; what matters is that you do it together. Turn off all gadgets and spend some quality time face-to-face with each other.

Express your feelings

Families do not seek worldly happiness all the time.

They simply want to know that they are loved, acknowledged, and valued. Recognize the small efforts they are making for us and express your love with those small cute sticky notes as a token of appreciation.

If they had a difficult day, make some pina colada, sit on the sofa and talk about their feelings.

Be an excellent listener

Do you know how it feels when you’re trying to tell someone something essential, and they aren’t paying attention?

Don’t be that person. Please pay attention to your family when they speak to you.

Put the phone down, turn down the TV volume, and give them your undivided attention. Make eye contact, ask pertinent questions, and engage in conversation with them. Allow your family to be the center of your world at least for a few minutes each day.

Finally, never take your family for granted. Understand that they are significant and that their happiness and well-being are linked to our own happiness and well-being.

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