Families all over are thriving, but it takes effort to establish and maintain a healthy family life. Watch as these West Michigan families talk about and demonstrate what they do to help their family thrive, the struggles they experience as parents or caregivers, and what you can do within your family.


  • A thriving family spends quality time together and knows each other’s likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests, challenges, and concerns.
  • A thriving family does not ignore challenging talks about issues and maintains open communication.
  • A thriving family is resilient and can bounce back from life’s curveballs because they trust each other.
  • A thriving family accepts each other, understands each other’s point of view, and knows they are not perfect and it is okay.
  • A thriving family has structure, boundaries, and accountability. Children and teens thrive when they know expectations and consequences.


A family has a variety of structures. Building a thriving family applies no matter how you define your family.


Spend purposeful quality time together

  • From family meals, to outdoor activities, to family movie night, these shared memories build relationships, trust, and a family bond.
  • Establish boundaries for using devices during family time and individually. Electronics and social media are influencing the increase in mental health issues among teens. Need some ideas on these boundaries? Check out some of these resources:
  • Common Sense Media
  • Protect Young Eyes
  • Screenagers
  • Talking about and acknowledging feelings will help you better understand and support your child.
Programs & Services: Adoption - Arbor Circle

Foster positive and healthy adult relationships

  • Connect your pre-teens and teens to other adults in your life who are a positive influence by sharing child care with a trusted friend or enrolling your child in a summer camp.
  • Learn who is safe for your children. For ways to prevent child sexual abuse, attend trainings from Ottawa County Children’s Advocacy Center.
  • Healthy relationships are vital for teens. Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence can help you talk to your youth about how to have a healthy relationship.

Maintain open communication

  • One of the most important ways to help teens make choices is to talk about their goals, what they want to accomplish, and the steps to take to get there.
  • Ensure your child is the focus of your attention. Set aside other things that can distract from your conversation. Looking for community events for your family? Check out your local library, chamber of commerce, or developmental authority.
  • Communicate your expectations and consequences for your teen. They want to know their boundaries.
  • Affirm your teen with praise when sharing expectations. It helps them with their confidence and resisting peer pressure.
  • Teens often respond emotionally to conflict. Rather than engage, take time to cool off and refrain from having conversations in the heat of the moment. Help your kids learn when they need a break during conflict. Handling conflict in healthy ways can give perspective and make the situation less overwhelming.
  • Talk about the emerging drug trends among teens and get their thoughts. Listening to your teens can help make a difference.
  • Share your values with your kids. It might make all the difference.

Recognize mental health and treatment

  • Talk about mental health and addiction – it is all around us whether we talk about it or not. Connect with the Ottawa Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition through Facebook or YouTube to stay up to date with emerging trends.
  • Seek help for yourself of your child if you are experiencing substance use or mental health concerns. Asking for help does not mean you are a failing family. Strong families recognize when they need to seek help.
  • Celebrate recovery – it is hard work. If you or someone you know needs more support, visit
  • Take time to care for yourself when life throws a curveball. Finding healthy activities you can do alone or with your family will help build your resilience and teach your children how to do the same.

Identify behavioral, mental, and social influences

  • Teens face a lot of peer pressure. Help your child by teaching them coping skills to deal with stressful situations. Peer refusal skills give our teens the words to say to get out of uncomfortable situations.
  • Failure can influence a teen’s choices. Helping your teen learn from failure instead of fearing it helps them learn to be resilient and stay true to themselves instead of the influence of their peers.
  • Help your teen understand the messages they are seeing and hearing by teaching media literacy with resources from Partnership to End Addiction at This skill helps us all look at media, understand the underlying messages, and make better choices with less influence from others.

Looking for help?

If you are struggling as a parent, talk to another parent. Find support from your friends and family, and know you are not alone. If you need more than a friend, there are ways to build your parenting toolbox with parenting resources and parent education.

The information above came through a collaborative effort of the Northwest Quadrant, an Ottawa Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP) Coalition subcommittee. We are a group of local agencies, schools, parents, youth, and individuals working to help families in the Tri-Cities thrive. While our focus is on preventing youth substance use, we understand teens experiment with alcohol and other drugs for various reasons. If we truly want our community to be the healthiest place for kids, our families must have the resources to be as strong as they can be. The Thriving Families Campaign came out of the desire to help our community understand the challenges we face, and build the skills and protective factors to ensure every child, teen, parent, and family can thrive.