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Family is a central part of everyone’s life, they are the people we rely on and learn from in the first years of our lives that play an important role in shaping who we become. That is why creating harmony within the family is especially important: Where people are living together in a small space with just walls and doors separating their private spheres, mutual agreement and peace are definitely a necessity. The question is: What exactly is domestic harmony and how is it embedded in our everyday life?

Family is a central part of everyone’s life, they are the people we rely on and learn from in the first years of our lives that play an important role in shaping who we become. That is why creating harmony within the family is especially important: Where people are living together in a small space with just walls and doors separating their private spheres, mutual agreement and peace are definitely a necessity. The question is: What exactly is domestic harmony and how is it embedded in our everyday life?

Photo by Sarah Laszlo
Photo by Sarah Laszlo

The Cambridge Dictionary defines harmony as a situation in which people are peaceful and agree with each other, or when things seem right or suitable together. That is a very broad definition, which doesn’t tell us much about what different aspects harmony consists of or how it influences us in our everyday life. When trying to determine the exact definition and meaning of domestic harmony, answers can be found in positive psychology, a field of study emphasizing the positive influences in a person’s life. Kakul Hai (2017) argues that there are five dimensions of domestic harmony which are interconnected and that it is these dimensions that create a positive home environment. These dimensions are the following:

  1. Congeniality and Cohesiveness: Working together as a unit without aggression and sub-groups building (e.g. father-son and mother-daughter)
  2. Support and Interpersonal Concern: The security of a supportive family including trust and respect for each other
  3. Nurtured Individuality: Allowing everyone to develop oneself to one’s fullest potential by giving enough privacy, freedom or guidance according to what is necessary in that moment
  4. Participatory Decision-Making: Consulting each other before making decisions, including everyone equally in the process and meeting each other with respect
  5. Openness in Communication: Encouragement to talk freely about anything, being able to address problems or concerns

Thus, domestic harmony is a broad construct with different variables playing a role and influencing each other. In improving the different aspects of these dimensions, domestic harmony can also be enhanced. Importantly, harmony is not about never having a conflict; it is not only made up of agreeing with each other and the seemingly perfect family bliss, but there is also a place for disagreement and discussion, as long as it happens openly and with respect.

“harmony is not about never having a conflict; it is not only made up of agreeing with each other and the seemingly perfect family bliss”

Now let’s take a look at a real-life scenario and let’s start from the beginning. How does a family form and develop? Most people think of a couple, love, marriage, and eventually children. But how does this last step, the responsibility and care for a child, influence marital harmony?

Sevinç & Garip (2010) evaluated the relationship between different parenting styles and marital harmony. Let’s first take a look at the different parenting styles considered:

  1. The authoritative child-rearing style includes high warmth and high control; the child is raised with consistent rules, independent decision making is encouraged, and discipline is exercised in a warm, supportive way. It is generally seen as the “best” parenting style because it bears the most positive outcomes.
  2. The authoritarian child-rearing style is low on warmth and high on discipline; the child is raised with discipline and rules, while the emotional and social needs remain largely unfulfilled.
  3. The permissive child-rearing style is characterized by low warmth and low control; the child is brought up with a carefree attitude and freedom while giving the child all the authority.

It seems logical that parents who disagree on how to raise their child will eventually end up in a conflict and that harmony will be impaired. But what this study found was that even the different parenting styles are connected to high marital harmony. The authoritative style positively correlates with marital harmony with more authoritative upbringing being connected with higher harmony. The authoritarian and permissive upbringing, however, correlated negatively with marital harmony. Looking at these results, maybe our understanding of harmony has to be widened: It is not only about being in agreement and working well together as partners but also about positive and healthy parenting behaviors; parenting styles that positively affect the child are conversely also positively connected with the parents’ marital harmony. Because of these findings we can see that in order to benefit your children’s well-being and to help them thrive in optimal surroundings, concentrating solely on them and prioritizing them individually is not the whole solution. It may be better to sometimes take a step back and look at one’s own marriage and relationship with one’s partner, since harmony between every family member will ultimately lead to better harmony in the whole family.

“parenting styles that positively affect the child are conversely also positively connected with the parents’ marital harmony”

Looking at all this, it is still important to keep in mind that it is also normal to have disharmony, to fight in destructive ways or to close oneself off from others from time to time, even though communication would be a better way of coping with the situation. Realistically, no individual or family can always behave their best at all times. Everyone has bad days when conflicts will arise. The important thing is to show discernment and understanding for everyone and communicate about it openly after the strong emotions wear off. A family that has a good understanding of what happened and what could have been done better will come back stronger and more unified. <<

References

– Cambridge Dictionary, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/de/worterbuch/englisch/harmony, accessed on 20.04.2022
– Hai, K. (2017). Measuring domestic harmony: A tool for positive family functioning. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(2), 123-131.
– Sevinç, M., & Garip, E. S. (2010). A study of parents’ child raising styles and marital harmony. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2), 1648-1653.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines harmony as a situation in which people are peaceful and agree with each other, or when things seem right or suitable together. That is a very broad definition, which doesn’t tell us much about what different aspects harmony consists of or how it influences us in our everyday life. When trying to determine the exact definition and meaning of domestic harmony, answers can be found in positive psychology, a field of study emphasizing the positive influences in a person’s life. Kakul Hai (2017) argues that there are five dimensions of domestic harmony which are interconnected and that it is these dimensions that create a positive home environment. These dimensions are the following:

  1. Congeniality and Cohesiveness: Working together as a unit without aggression and sub-groups building (e.g. father-son and mother-daughter)
  2. Support and Interpersonal Concern: The security of a supportive family including trust and respect for each other
  3. Nurtured Individuality: Allowing everyone to develop oneself to one’s fullest potential by giving enough privacy, freedom or guidance according to what is necessary in that moment
  4. Participatory Decision-Making: Consulting each other before making decisions, including everyone equally in the process and meeting each other with respect
  5. Openness in Communication: Encouragement to talk freely about anything, being able to address problems or concerns

Thus, domestic harmony is a broad construct with different variables playing a role and influencing each other. In improving the different aspects of these dimensions, domestic harmony can also be enhanced. Importantly, harmony is not about never having a conflict; it is not only made up of agreeing with each other and the seemingly perfect family bliss, but there is also a place for disagreement and discussion, as long as it happens openly and with respect.

“harmony is not about never having a conflict; it is not only made up of agreeing with each other and the seemingly perfect family bliss”

Now let’s take a look at a real-life scenario and let’s start from the beginning. How does a family form and develop? Most people think of a couple, love, marriage, and eventually children. But how does this last step, the responsibility and care for a child, influence marital harmony?

Sevinç & Garip (2010) evaluated the relationship between different parenting styles and marital harmony. Let’s first take a look at the different parenting styles considered:

  1. The authoritative child-rearing style includes high warmth and high control; the child is raised with consistent rules, independent decision making is encouraged, and discipline is exercised in a warm, supportive way. It is generally seen as the “best” parenting style because it bears the most positive outcomes.
  2. The authoritarian child-rearing style is low on warmth and high on discipline; the child is raised with discipline and rules, while the emotional and social needs remain largely unfulfilled.
  3. The permissive child-rearing style is characterized by low warmth and low control; the child is brought up with a carefree attitude and freedom while giving the child all the authority.

It seems logical that parents who disagree on how to raise their child will eventually end up in a conflict and that harmony will be impaired. But what this study found was that even the different parenting styles are connected to high marital harmony. The authoritative style positively correlates with marital harmony with more authoritative upbringing being connected with higher harmony. The authoritarian and permissive upbringing, however, correlated negatively with marital harmony. Looking at these results, maybe our understanding of harmony has to be widened: It is not only about being in agreement and working well together as partners but also about positive and healthy parenting behaviors; parenting styles that positively affect the child are conversely also positively connected with the parents’ marital harmony. Because of these findings we can see that in order to benefit your children’s well-being and to help them thrive in optimal surroundings, concentrating solely on them and prioritizing them individually is not the whole solution. It may be better to sometimes take a step back and look at one’s own marriage and relationship with one’s partner, since harmony between every family member will ultimately lead to better harmony in the whole family.

“parenting styles that positively affect the child are conversely also positively connected with the parents’ marital harmony”

Looking at all this, it is still important to keep in mind that it is also normal to have disharmony, to fight in destructive ways or to close oneself off from others from time to time, even though communication would be a better way of coping with the situation. Realistically, no individual or family can always behave their best at all times. Everyone has bad days when conflicts will arise. The important thing is to show discernment and understanding for everyone and communicate about it openly after the strong emotions wear off. A family that has a good understanding of what happened and what could have been done better will come back stronger and more unified. <<

References

– Cambridge Dictionary, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/de/worterbuch/englisch/harmony, accessed on 20.04.2022
– Hai, K. (2017). Measuring domestic harmony: A tool for positive family functioning. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(2), 123-131.
– Sevinç, M., & Garip, E. S. (2010). A study of parents’ child raising styles and marital harmony. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2), 1648-1653.
Christine Lastovka

Author Christine Lastovka

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