Building a strong family is a lot like building a house.
In our neighborhood, I have watched the progress of several homes as they were being built. Concrete foundations, concrete brick by concrete brick, walls, roof, doors, windows–all in accordance with a very detailed architectual plan.
Eventually all those individual pieces become a beautiful home, but the process took patience and work and a PLAN.
Building a family is a lot like building a home. There are a lot of pieces to the process, but unfortunately many parents start the family-building journey without giving any thought to the plan. They would never build a house without a blueprint, but they begin parenting with no thought to how they want to build a family.
Wherever you are in your family and parenting journey, it’s never too late to put building blocks in place to make your family stronger. After 34 years of being parents, these are the blocks that my husband and I have used to make our family strong. And when I say strong, I don’t mean perfect, I mean a family that sticks together, supports each other and helps each other overcome the struggles they face.
5 Strong Family Building Blocks
Healthy communication. There may be a lot of noise, even a lot of talking, but that doesn’t mean the communication is beneficial and healthy. Healthy communication is the glue that holds families together and gives them the courage to work through their problems. It calls for lots of listening, seeking to understand each other, responding instead of reacting to what the other person says, and allowing others to speak freely without being interruped.
Healthy communication is not easy. It takes work, it takes being honest with yourself, it takes being willing to evaluate your parenting skills and admit that maybe you could have done something better, it means learning from your mistakes and above all, it takes letting your kids know that they are loved no matter what they do or say.
Feeling Safe. There are two elements to safety: one is physical and the other is emotional. First and foremost, your child should feel protected physically and know that they will not be intentionally harmed, AND they should feel like their family members will do all they can to keep them from physical hurt.
Emotional safety means that your child knows that home is a place where they are loved no matter what, where they don’t have to walk on egg-shells because they are afraid they might make Mom or Dad angry. It means that they know they can share their thoughts and opinions without being made fun of or put down.
Core Values. Author Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time.” I fear that’s what many parents are doing, aiming at nothing. That doesn’t necessarily mean that their kids won’t turn out to be healthy, strong adults, it just means that when they don’t take aim, it is more of a lucky guess or a gamble as to what the outcome will be. That’s why instilling core values in your kids is so important.
Whether you do it as a family, or as parents, take the time to write out your core values and start instilling them in your kids. If you’d like more help on how to do this, schedule a free call here.
Boundaries. Strong families know that boundaries must be in place in order for kids to feel secure. If your child does not know what the boundaries are, they will always be wondering if they will get in trouble or if Mom and Dad will get mad at them.
Take some time to write out the non-negotiables in your home, talk them over with your kids, and be clear ahead of time of the consequences of overstepping them. Intially your kids may not like to hear them, but in the end, it will give them a sense of security knowing what to expect.
Fun. Every good recipe has the perfect ingredients and those extra special recipes have a “secret” ingredient that makes them sensational. I like to think of the “secret” ingredient that goes into making a family extra special is the additive of silliness and fun.
Do you take yourself too seriously as a parent? Do you allow yourself to get downright silly with your kids? Do you advocate for a lot of laughter in your home? Do you take the time to go do something your kids think is FUN, even though you may not agree that it’s enjoyable?
For me, it was roller coasters. I hate them. But there was one time when I let my kids talk me into riding one because, well just because. They knew it was out of my comfort zone so they were thrilled when I actually did it. We’ve laughed about a lot it since then and I can honestly say that I have never regretted being silly with my kids.
Fun and silliness breaks down barriers and builds bonds.
Whereever you are on your parenting journey, it’s not too late to do some planning and start implementing some lifelong building blocks. Your kids are your most important assignment and worth every ounce of your effort. Let me know if you’d like help with the building process. I’m available for a free consult here.