Is your family as close and as bonded as you would like it to be?
Many parents are working long hours and often lack the time and energy it takes to be truly present to their partners, their children, and their extended family.
Common strains, such as financial and emotional demands can create tension within virtually every family. Add to that our human limitations, like being stressed, anxious, and exhausted, and you can see why the family members may feel distant from one another.
Is there a way to bring your family closer together, despite the challenges?
Steps for Bringing Your Family Together
- Lead by Example. The most basic fact you, the parent, must understand is that you are the leader of your family – regardless of whether you’re single or married. What that means is that you must have a vision for what you want your family to be like. You must be committed to acting to get there, and you must do it in such a manner that you inspire others to imitate you.
For that to happen, the first step you must take is a good, long look at yourself and how you’re leading. The second is to prioritize what’s important and meaningful to you. Live in such a way that others can see what has value to you. When you lead this way, you can help create a good spirit in your home – a spirit of love, respect, and togetherness.
- Communicate. To know each other well, you must share information with one another. Make it a goal to engage in conversations with your children. Discuss various subjects they’re interested in. Ask about their music, friends, activities, dreams, or goals. It goes both ways, too. Tell your children about your own life. Share stories about growing up, challenges you faced, and the rewards you received.
Say and show that you like each other, writing notes, or doing other things that affirm your mutual affection. And remember, the most important part of communication is listening. True listening does not mean “fixing” or giving advice - it means you listen and validate the other person's thoughts and feelings. Listening fuels caring, sharing, and giving.
- Make Time. Spending time together creates a true bond. Make sure, though, that it’s fun for everyone. Try eating at least one meal together as a family. Does that seem old-fashioned? It may be, but research indicates that dining together each day helps your child live a more balanced, connected, healthy life.
As the parent, you need to learn to control your own schedule and plan to create routines to strengthen your family. Plan weekly family activities and outings, play games or support a family member for a special event. There are many opportunities to have a fun time together if you keep your eyes open.
- Work Together. Teamwork fosters closeness, caring, and respect for each other. Do tasks or chores together – like cooking or baking, working in the garden, and household tasks and chores. Make sure you choose activities that accommodate different ages and skill levels so that everybody can participate. Show appreciation for your children’s efforts, giving them loving and genuine praise and encouragement.
Creating a close family takes effort and commitment, particularly on the part of parents. Commitment must be willing and the effort needs to be consistent on a weekly, or even daily, basis. Don’t give up against the tide of problems you might be facing.
Take one step at a time and keep building your family bond and closeness. It will certainly be worth it – now, and into the future!