22 things loving families don’t do.


  1. They don’t favor one child over another.
  2. They don’t give their children “mixed” or conflicting messages.
  3. They don’t teach their children that only material things or financial success have value and denigrate qualities like compassion, empathy, and love as “weaknesses.”
  4. They don’t disinherit their own children.  If an adult child is irresponsible with finances, they set up a trust or distribute it as income or through someone else who is trustworthy.  But they don’t disown.  That’s nothing but a slap in the face.
  5. They don’t reward a child and then punish them for the same thing later.
  6. They don’t threaten a child with “reform school,” being given up for adoption, etc.
  7. They don’t squelch, punish or discourage the honest expression of emotion, even if it’s negative.
  8. They don’t belittle a child’s talents or accomplishments
  9. They don’t tell their child they are “perfect,” especially for things they didn’t have to work toward (looks, intelligence, etc.)
  10. They never tell their child they are a “loser,” “will never accomplish anything,” are “hopeless,” “crazy,” “made bad life choices,” etc.
  11. They don’t listen to a child or adult child’s difficulty in some life situation and then tell them or imply that it’s all their own fault they got into that situation.
  12. They don’t tell an adult child they don’t have time to listen to their problems.
  13. They don’t judge you and tell you you brought those problems on yourself.
  14. They will always be there for you when you need them.  Even adults sometimes need the support of their families (emotional or financial) when life goes badly.  Families are forever, or they should be.
  15. They don’t blame you for not being successful in life if they never provided the emotional and financial resources for you to ever become successful.
  16. They forgive.  They don’t hold grudges.
  17. There are always second chances.
  18. They don’t badmouth you to other relatives, especially where there is no chance of you being able to defend yourself.
  19. They don’t tell you to check into a shelter or a convent when you are threatened with homelessness (that actually happened to me), ESPECIALLY when there are children involved.
  20. They don’t demean and belittle the poor in front of you, saying things like “the poor make their own choices and they deserve their poverty” when they know YOU are poor and there is no intention to give you a hand up.
  21. They don’t send commercialized, phony platitudes about positive thinking such as “inspirational” cards and memes (of the sort that appear in office cubicles) if there is no intention of trying to offer help to a child in any other way.
  22. They don’t throw or give away family mementos and pictures that may mean something to a child or can make an adult child still feel a sense of rootedness.  I have reason to believe my mother threw away all the old family photos of me and other things that meant something to me when I was young.