Because every family is different, there are really no one-size-fits-all parenting strategies. But there are some common traits that a happy and healthy family exhibits.
Whether you are a blended family, single parent family, large family, only child family, divorced family, adoption family–the following characteristics and family habits will help you lay a strong foundation in your children that will help you be well on your way to raising champions.
“Good communication” does not mean excessive talking, yelling or venting. Good communication has these components:
- active listening
- attention to body language (which sometimes speaks louder than words!)
- respect (not demeaning language)
- openness when appropriate
- vulnerability (saying “I’m sorry” when necessary)
- asking thoughtful questions which shows interest
- filtering your words, especially for sensitive topics (how will this statement be received or understood?)
Good communication takes work. Sometimes very hard work. But the benefits of open, honest dialog with your kids will be life-impacting in your relationships.
Understanding each other’s love language
Each one of us speaks a different love language. My love language is “words of affirmation,” with “quality time” being a close second. So when my kids write me long letters on my birthday or mother’s day, it always speaks to my soul and makes me feel loved.
On the other hand, my 31-year-old daughter’s love language is “gifts.” She is thrilled with gifts, big and small, because it is how she feels loved.
Do you know which one of these love languages says “I love you” the loudest to your child?
- words of affirmation
- quality time
- acts of service
- physical touch
- receiving gifts
If your child has behavioral issues, consider how you are expressing your love to them. It may be that their love tank is not being filled and that’s why they are acting out. Figure out their love language, speak it to them and see if it starts to make a difference.
If you’d like to learn how to find out the love languages of your spouse and/or kids, and how to apply that to your family, I have a 3-session coaching package called Understanding Your Family’s Love Languages. Email me at email@example.com for more info or schedule a 15-minute call here.
Laughter and silliness
I’ve been in a lot of good homes that were just that…good. And then I’ve been in homes that were beyond good. They were fabulous. What’s their secret ingredient? What adds the spice, the kick, to a home? What can help take it beyond good to GREAT?
Hear me out….
When people get silly, they laugh. Walls go down. Bonds are built. Laughter is amazing medicine and the family that laughs and gets silly together, in my opinion, has a better chance of staying strong and close as they grow up.
I’ve seen lots of good parents at work. They have values. They discipline. They teach. They love. These are the foundational ingredients of a strong family.
And then I’ve seen families like my niece and nephew who get silly with their kids. I mean, ridiculously silly. Every time I go to their home, I see how much they enjoy their kids. They play with them, they joke with them, they laugh with them. It’s just fun being in their home.
Of course, they also teach and guide and discipline. But the spice of silliness gets tossed in here and there throughout the day and I have no doubt that those kids will grow up solid and strong in their family bonds and will have a love for their parents’ values because of it.
Last, but definitely not least is the core values that you and your family establish in your home. These are the principles upon which you base your family choices and parenting decisions. These are the truths that become your child’s “inner voice” to guide them when you are not there to push them in the right direction.
For example, one family might list:
- Taking personal responsibility.
One thing that we valued highly in our home was FAMILY, both extended and immediate. Because of that, our kids grew up with a strong love of family and to this day they greatly enjoy spending time with family near and far.
Establish these values, then teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Weave them into conversations and actions, even without saying them. Make them your child’s true north.
If listing core values is something you’d like help with, I have a 3-session coaching package called Family Success Plan, which covers core values and helps you and your family choose them. Schedule a 15-minute call here to learn more.
Families are often messy and complicated. But the rewards of focusing on being a family with these traits, despite the imperfections are life-long.