In the early twentieth century, Abraham Maslow developed a chart that categorized people's needs. His work is worth examination, especially considering family.
We can be part of a great family and yet still feel little value, unknown or insignificant.
Often we emphasize the needs for food, shelter, safety, education and hobbies. Busily, we reorganize schedules to maintain all of these things. But to finish at this level, denies greater needs and therefore we cruise through life wondering purpose and worth.
Each of us has a huge need to belong and to be valued.
These desires are fulfilled by giving time, listening without preparing for an answer, and providing encouragement.
Practice affection or rather than focusing on being the center of attention, watch for opportunities to include others.
Watch for those things that bring a smile to another's face.
Listen and validate other's thoughts and engage in another's interests.
Build up those, whether spouse or child, whether an unlovable teenager or an angry spouse.
To criticize isolates, but encouragement strengthens connection and that sense of belonging.