A strong family unit is important for every child, whether it’s blood family or friends-like-family. I believe very strongly in the importance of family and so I want to take a few minutes and give you some ideas for helping your family grow–and stay growing–strong.
A Strong Family Works on Communication
How well do you listen to each other? This means putting down phones and turning off the TV when important conversations are happening. Don’t let your kids bring their phones to the table, whether you are eating out or at home. They may roll their eyes, but it’s important that you foster an environment where everyone has to work on communicating.
Learn the art of asking good questions. Not accusatory ones, but gentle probing ones that don’t allow for Yes and No answers.
You may get resistance at times, but don’t let that deter you. Honest, respectful communication is vital to a healthy family. It’s something that you will have to continue to be intentional about as your family grows and scatters.
A Strong Family Supports Each Individual
There should be no favoritism for one child’s stage over the other. Whether it’s sports, music or drama, give each child equal billing. Take turns attending their events. Dad goes to one; Mom goes to the other. Then they switch.
Dads, pay as much attention to your daughter’s non-sporting events as you do to your sons’ sporting events.
Encourage your kids to support each other by going to each other’s games and events and cheering for them. Who cares if one child is not interested in the other’s sport? Teach them to support each other anyway.
A Strong Family Carves Out Time for Each Other
The older your kids get, the harder this becomes. They get busy, start driving, and want their independence, but don’t let that be an excuse for neglecting family time.
Make it work, somehow, some way. It will look different for every family, but make a point of planning family time, whether it’s a vacation, weekly meals together, outings, or hanging out at home. I really don’t think the venue is as important as the fact that the family is together on a regular basis. When your kids are little, it’s obviously going to happen all the time, but as they grow, you will have to fight to stay consistent with this.
Two of our three kids live out of state and we’ve become very intentional about staying connected: we plan two family vacations together a year, we connect frequently through a group text, we facetime, and we call each other often. Connection sometimes takes work and sacrifice, but strong families know that it should be a priority.
A Strong Family Has Fun Together
I’m a firm believer in the importance of laughter in the home. In fact, I advocate silliness on a regular basis.
Even if you are not a silly-type, it’s okay. I’m not, but I still managed to find ways to be silly. Sometimes I had to work at it, but I never regretted the laughter with my kids.
Whether it’s a game night, watching movies, or asking fun questions around the dinner table, make the most of laughter!
Strong families are one of the anchors your child needs in his or her life. If you don’t have family nearby, find a substitute and start building that bond with your kids.
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