If you could win $1 million by staying in a remote cabin with your extended family for one month, would you do it?
Could you do it?
Just because they’re your family doesn’t mean they’re good for you. We have to admit, at some point, that toxic people are toxic whether or not we’re related to them.
If you’ve ever heard the term “chosen family bonds,” this article’s for you. We’ll give you the lowdown on intentional community.
Finding a Chosen Family: Who Can You Trust?
Have you ever met someone and known instantly that you would become friends? Do you know any older adults who are like better versions of your mom or dad?
Even if you adore your bio-family, you can still invest in friendships that feel like family.
The key to knowing who to trust is to do a gut check. Does the person seem sincere? Do you know anyone else who can vouch for the person?
Another quality of a good friend is good boundaries. That means you can say “no” without them getting angry or trying to bully you.
If you are being bullied or abused, it’s time to report it and get help.
Chosen Family Options for Young Adults
Chosen family support is especially important for LBGTQ+ teens. About two-thirds of teens who come out to their parents are forced to leave home.
If you have experienced neglect or abuse, take the time to get to know someone thoroughly before committing to be their chosen family.
The good thing about the chosen family is that you can build that trust slowly. You might want to meet once per week for lunch or keep in touch via text messaging.
Finding a chosen family doesn’t mean replacing your parents or negating positive relationships. It’s more about finding people who respect your authority and aren’t constantly trying to sanitize your perspective.
You might even find that you connect more with people your own age or younger. A chosen family often gives people the chance to be the supportive parent they never had.
Are Chosen Family Bonds the Key to Long-Term Mental Health?
There are a few ways you can invest in your mental health including solitude, meditation, and one-on-one therapy. Maintaining chosen family bonds will also help contribute to your overall well-being.
If you already have a chosen family, take a chance and tell them how you feel. Just let them know that they mean a lot to you and that you see them as actual family members.
You might be surprised to learn how much they already value you! Remember, you’re supporting their mental health as much as they’re supporting yours.
Even if your chosen family lives far away and you only interact online, it’s still a valid family group. As long as you feel respected, it’s okay to commit to a life that works for you.
Now that you know about chosen families, check out our other blogs! We have the inside scoop on everything from beating stress to redecorating on a budget.