I like doing questionnaires like this one. IQ stands for “Intimacy Quotient”. Remember, intimacy means connection.
How close is your family? Dolores Curran, author of Traits of a Healthy Family, evaluates 15 traits necessary to make healthy families.1 The following questionnaire is adapted from her research. Our family has used it to help us evaluate our family intimacy quotient as well as our level of communication.
How to Take This Test
Rate the intimacy quotient of your family by responding to the questions. Award yourself points for each answer as follows:
1 point: We’re definitely not there yet.
2 points: This is sometimes true of our family.
3 points: This is usually true of our family.
_____ 1. In our marriage, my spouse and I share power equally, complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
_____ 2. At the dinner table, our family shares more than food. We also share ideas, feelings, disappointments and dreams.
_____ 3. If there is a conflict between a family tradition and an outside responsibility, the family tradition usually wins.
_____ 4. As parents, we allow our children freedom to make decisions in certain areas and expect them to accept the consequences of those decisions.
_____ 5. Our family shares together in at least one leisure activity a week.
_____ 6. As parents, we are aware of our children’s facial expressions, body language and physical gestures and from these pick up clues that lead us to ask appropriate questions and initiate honest discussion.
_____ 7. The basic, underlying mood of our family is hopeful and forward looking; we have our sources of stress, but we consider them temporary and manageable.
_____ 8. When we are alone together, my spouse and I are vulnerable to each other and risk exposure of our deepest feelings.
_____ 9. We allow our children to make choices among various activities outside the family, but we do not allow these activities to interfere routinely with our leisure time together.
_____ 10. We have different rules for children of different ages.
_____ 11. We know what we believe, and we find strength in our faith.
_____ 12. We have a vision as a family and seek to be involved in something bigger than the quality of our relationships.
_____ 13. We have our share of problems, but we usually can see the positive in every situation, no matter how bad.
_____ 14. No matter how busy we are, our entire family eats a meal together at least once each day.
_____ 15. My spouse and I agree on what is right and wrong.
_____ 16. We make an effort to gather regularly with those in our extended family.
_____ 17. We refuse to remove obstacles from our children’s lives that will potentially foster their growth and responsibility.
_____ 18. As parents, we occasionally spend time alone with each of our children.
_____ 19. We keep our work commitments under control and do not allow them to routinely crowd out family.
_____ 20. Although we go through rough periods, we stick together and try to make things right.
_____ 21. In our family, we make each other feel important by supporting each other in our failures as well as in our successes.
_____ 22. As parents, we allow our children to be exposed to situations in which they can gradually earn more trust or rebuild trustworthiness.
_____ 23. When conflicts arise, we give everyone a chance to speak and work at negotiating solutions before the conflicts become volatile.
_____ 24. Different personality styles and preferences are accepted within our family life.
_____ 25. Our definition of success is not based on promotions, possessions or power but on the quality of our service to others.
_____ 26. We laugh at ourselves and with each other, and we use humor to defuse potentially stressful situations.
_____ 27. As adults, we provide for our kids a value system out of which certain rules and accepted behaviors arise.
_____ 28. We present opportunities in our home for our children to prove their capabilities.
_____ 29. The underlying religious attitude of our family is one of moving closer to a shared core of spirituality.
_____ 30. We expect and allow our children to change as they get older. We respect their fads, friends, confidences, privacy and time—their right to be alone and their right to be different—as long as these things are not destructive.
Now add up your total points. If your total score is:
1-30 Your family has the potential to become an intimate family if you are willing to apply energy and determination to the process.
31-60 Your family has a strong foundation upon which to build further intimacy.
61-90 You are maintaining strong momentum in the direction of intimacy.
1 Dolores Curran, Traits of a Healthy Family (New York: Ballantine Books, 1984).