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  • Writer's picturedrleoniewhite

Helping Families Thrive Strength Cards: Ideas for Families

Updated: Jun 23

As a family therapist I know that all families have strengths and an amazing capacity to face life’s predictable changes and unpredictable challenges, and I often emphasize the importance of recognizing and utilizing the unique strengths that each family member brings to the table, as well as the strengths that the family has. Yes, that’s right, every family has its own set of family strengths, and identifying these can significantly amplify positive aspects of family life and help to navigate life’s ups downs and round abouts.

Family life is amazing, and also, it can be quite challenging as we navigate the predictable changes, like entering the teen years, regular life stresses, like moving house or changing jobs, and unpredictable, unwanted challenges.  Often as families journey through life’s changes and challenges hiccups happen and a natural tendency when things aren’t going well is to start to focus only on problems and correcting problems in order to get things back on track.  But family doesn’t always have to take a problem focus in order for things to go well.

As a therapist, I know that what we talk about and how we talk about it makes a difference in coping with difficulties and in the search for solutions. Noticing, amplifying and consolidating existing strengths instils hope and optimism, supports change and growth, and helps families thrive.  A focus on helping things go right in family life will go a long way.

And that’s why I developed the Helping Families Thrive Strength Cards, to help families connect with their unique family strengths.  These cards are designed to be an engaging resource to support family wellbeing, thriving and growth with tools for conversations that help families identify, access, and amplify their unique family strengths by:

  • Identifying strengths that you have as a family that are working well so you can keep them present in family life

  • Identifying strengths that you have as a family that you’d like to amplify and feel more connected to

  • Identifying strengths that as a family you would like to develop and add in to your existing family strengths

This can really help to:

  • Develop family connection – those all important warm, emotional bonds

  • Build a resilient, cohesive, strong, happy family

  • Navigate the predictable changes and challenges of life

  • Navigate the unpredictable curve balls that life can throw

If you haven't seen the cards, here's a sneak peak of a card from each category :)

Essentially, the Helping Families Thrive Strength cards can serve as a catalyst for deeper communication, understanding, connection and unity within the family. But how do you use them?

Before you do anything, as the parent(s) read through the cards and have a think about how the strengths identified on the cards fit with your parenting values and principles, and your ideas about family life.  And then think about which of the following ideas would fit for your family.

The cards can be used in regular family times like family meals or meetings, or “as needed” if your family needs some help with a challenge that has popped up.  You might even like to leave them on the coffee table and see what your family does 😊

Here’s some specific ideas for how you can use the Helping Families Thrive Strength Cards:

Individual Identification of Family Strengths: Begin by having each family member draw a card and share how they see this strength in the family. For example, if the card says “We have fun and special times together e.g. celebrations, days out, holidays, nature walks,” a child might talk about a recent family day out at the beach or their favourite birthday cake. This might trigger a conversation about the different things that family members like to do together and increase a sense of connection.


Appreciate Family Strengths in Each Other: Use the cards to acknowledge and celebrate the family strengths noticed in family members. Family members can take turns selecting a card and then talking about how they’ve noticed another member exhibit that strength. This practice promotes mutual appreciation and respect, reinforcing positive family processes and connection.  Tip:  Make sure everyone is in a good frame of mind for this conversation so that they can easily identify strengths they see in others.


Facilitate Open Discussions: Strengths cards can serve as excellent conversation starters. Choose a card and discuss how that particular strength plays a role in your family’s everyday life. For instance, a card that says “We talk about problems in ways that keep the problem separate from the person’s identity” can lead to a discussion about how effective communication helps resolve conflicts, navigate tough topics, and maintain harmony.


Set Collective Goals: Use the strengths cards to set family goals. Identify strengths that the family wants to develop or leverage more. For example, if the card “We work as a team” is chosen, your family can set a goal to work together on household chores, planning a holiday, or a community project. This process helps in aligning efforts towards common objectives and reinforces a sense of togetherness.


Resolve Conflicts Constructively: During times of disagreement or conflict, strengths cards can help shift the focus from what’s going wrong to what’s going right. By drawing a card and discussing the strength on it, families can find positive ways to approach and resolve their issues. For instance, a card with “We listen to understand and empathize, not to argue back” can remind family members to understand each other’s perspectives, facilitating effective communication and constructive problem solving.

Celebrate Achievements: Use the cards to celebrate family milestones and achievements. Reflect on the strengths that contributed to these successes. For example, after completing a big project or overcoming a challenging period, draw a card like “We pull together in times of troubles” and discuss how it helped your family succeed. This reinforces positive family processes and encourages a supportive environment.


Collaborative Problem Solving: When facing challenges, use the strengths cards to brainstorm solutions. Each family member can draw a card and suggest how that family strength can be applied to the current problem. This not only encourages creative thinking but also empowers each family member to contribute to problem-solving, and support each other.


Regular Reflection: Consider how regularly it is helpful to revisit the strengths cards in your family. Reflect on how individual and collective strengths have evolved and how they continue to shape the family. Keeping a strengths focus as an ongoing part of family life ensures that the family strengths are ready to access whenever they are needed.

An important note. 

When you are using the card deck, it's important to note that the Helping Families Thrive Strength Cards are an invitation for parents and families to consider what is helpful from the cards for their unique family, and then decide what they’d like to notice, or work on.  These cards are not a prescription or checklist of what a family should have to be a thriving family; they are a smorgasbord of ideas to choose from so that families can make up their own unique “plate” of strengths they select from the smorgasbord.  Each family is unique and so each family’s set of strengths will be unique to them, and potentially even unique to this particular period of time in family life and open to change in the future.


Remember, there is no one right way to be a family, and you get to choose what matters to you and how you would like to be as a family based on your values.


I hope you enjoy the cards and please feel free to reach out and let me know which ideas for using them you’ve found helpful and any new ways to use them that you create.


Dr Leonie White - Clinical Family Therapist and Psychologist

Helping people grow, connect and thrive in life’s unique journey.

If you'd like more tips, ideas and strategies to help grow a thriving family

find out more about the Helping Families Thrive Cards.

Please note - this article is educational in nature and does not constitute therapy advice. 

Please seek help from a professional if you require support. 

 Photo Attributions:

Photos 1 2, 3, 4, 5 & 7 Vecteezy Pro

Photo 6 nathan-anderson-GM5Yn5XRVqA-unsplash

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