11/23/2011 09:03 am ET Updated Nov 28, 2011

6 Reasons Your Family Is Good For Your Health

This Thanksgiving, as you listen to grandma tell you you're too fat and your aunt tells you that you should've been married three years ago, it'll hard to remember why, exactly, families are meant to be loved.

But look beyond the jibes and minor annoyances and you'll realize that families have a value that extends much beyond annual turkey diners. From mental health to your body's immune response, your family has likely influenced your life in a multitude of ways. "Families are critically important for the growth and development of children, including how resilient they are and how quickly they learn," says Dr. Ben Siegel, a pediatric primary care physician at the Boston Medical Center.

Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, who practices adolescent medicine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and is the author of "Building Resilience in Children and Teens" explains: "Connectedness is the biggest thing you can do to encourage your child to be healthy and have a healthy lifestyle."

According to Dr. Ginsburg's research, people with a strong connection to their families are less likely to do drugs, be more engaged at school and even be good drivers.

But most of all, he says, a strong connection with your family will give you the ability to deal with stressors later on in life and rise above difficult circumstances.

So, if you've lost your job, are nursing a broken heart, just had to give up your home and are still standing, you probably have your family to thank.

6 Reasons Families Are Good For Us