How To Master Emotional Intelligence Chapter 12 – Importance Of Family Relationships
Spending time together is one of the greatest gifts families can give each other. Spending time together not only strengthens family cohesion, but also provides a sense of belonging and security for all family members. Research has shown that children who enjoy shared activities not only learn important social skills, but also have higher self-esteem. Strong family bonds also promote better child behavior, improve academic performance, strengthen communication between parent and child, and teach your child to be a good friend. As parents, you play a key role in cultivating and protecting these family bonds. But building strong family bonds does not always happen naturally. In our hectic daily lives, it can take a concerted effort to make time for your family. If you want to make that solid foundation a reality in your family, take these important practices to heart.
Schedule family time. Whether you have school-age children or teenagers, it takes planning to make sure you have enough time together. Make time for family. Look at everyone’s schedule to see if there are blocks of time that can be set aside for the family. Try to pick a regular evening, maybe once a week, when the whole family gets together to do a fun activity. If you schedule this night on a regular basis, everyone will know to keep this night free for the family.
Plan outings. Another way to build family time into your schedule is to plan regular day trips. If this is something your family enjoys, try to plan the outing at least a month in advance. Put the date on the family calendar and make sure everyone is aware of the plan.
Create new traditions. Use your time together to create family traditions, such as carving pumpkins on Halloween or picking the first strawberries together in the summer. Some families enjoy attending the same local festival each year or participating in a 5K walk or run together.
How to Create Quality Time with Your Family Shared Meals. Choose a few nights a week when you expect everyone to gather around the table. Do not allow phones or other electronic devices. Just eat a meal (something simple is good!) and have a conversation together. Studies have shown that sharing a meal has positive effects on children’s physical and mental well-being. It can also promote communication and strengthen family bonds. If a busy schedule prevents you from eating dinner together as a family, try breakfast. The most important thing is to come together and enjoy a meal without distractions.
Do chores as a family. Make cleaning your house or taking care of your yard a task that the whole family is responsible for together. Make a list of chores and have everyone sign off on it. Then, set a time during the week or weekend when everyone can do their chores at the same time. If your teens have busy schedules and need a little more flexibility, give them a deadline for completing their chores. However, remind them that chores are done much faster together than alone. Plus, doing chores together can foster a sense of teamwork, especially if someone finishes early and is willing to help another family member complete their chores. To make chores more rewarding, plan a small reward for work completed, such as sharing ice cream, watching a movie, or playing a board game.
Create a mission statement. When most parents think of mission statements, they think of nonprofit organizations and businesses. But these documents work well for families, too. While it may seem a little cheesy or too business-like, creating a family mission statement can help you set your family’s priorities. A family mission statement can remind everyone what your family’s core values are or what you love most about each other. It’s easy and fun to work on with your family, so it’s a great project for a family night. Your statement does not have to be long or complicated. Something like “In our family, we love each other and we help each other” will do (but if your kids want to come up with a long list, let them!) When you have finished your mission statement, post it in a prominent place in your home. Read it, refer to it, and talk about it often. It will help reinforce what is important to your family. How to strengthen the bond between your children.
Have family meetings. Family meetings are a good opportunity for everyone to catch up with each other, air grievances, or discuss future plans. For example, a family meeting is a good time to talk about an upcoming day trip or family vacation, or how you are going to get chores done next weekend. These meetings can be firmly scheduled on your family calendar, or you can schedule them spontaneously and allow each family member to call a meeting if they feel the need to do so. Family meetings can also be used to set family goals. Begin each of these meetings by reading out your family mission statement. If you have a large family, start by asking if anyone has a problem or agenda item. Write down what everyone wants to talk about and go over those items one by one.
You may need to set some guidelines for the meeting, such as a time limit for each agenda item and a “no talking” rule if someone else has the floor. Also emphasize being kind, considerate and respectful. The goal of these meetings is to resolve family issues in a productive way.
Encourage support. Feeling supported by your family is one of the most important elements in building strong family bonds. Such bonds will stay with your children throughout their lives. To create a sense of support, encourage everyone to learn what is important to family members and do their best to support each other in good times and bad. Everyone in the family should feel able to share good and bad news and receive a loving response. The goal is for everyone in the family to rejoice together when things go well and comfort each other when things do not go as planned. When families feel supported, it’s much easier to get through tough times.
Little Ways to Bring Your Family Together Schedule Downtime. While family time is an important part of everyday life, everyone needs downtime, too. Not only should you encourage your children to have quiet time alone to recover, but you also need to take time for yourself. Parenthood is a big responsibility that can take a lot out of you. That’s why you should never be too shy to take a break. The U.S. Department of Labor requires companies to give their employees breaks during the workday. So, make sure you take some time for yourself. You’ll be a better parent if you do.
Engage Together. Research has shown that the more we give, the happier and more grateful we feel in our own lives. Giving your time and energy to make someone else’s life better is always an important learning experience. And when your family shares these learning experiences together, it will strengthen your relationship. In addition, volunteering allows children to meet many different people and increases their appreciation for those who are different from them. It also teaches children to be more empathetic and less self-centered. Volunteering is also associated with a number of better health outcomes, including better physical and mental health, greater life satisfaction, higher self-esteem and fewer depressive symptoms.
Support your child’s interests. Strong families support the passions of their family members. Whether that means attending your child’s soccer games, reading a book series they love, or helping them collect characters from a movie or series (TV ), it’s important to support your child’s interests. If your child plays sports, is in band, is in Boy Scouts, or participates in another school activity, support them in some way. You do not necessarily have to take a leadership role if that’s not your style. Find a way to show your children that you support them and want to stand by them in their activities, whatever those may be. If you are unsure of where you can help, ask your children for their opinion. This will show that you are interested in the things they are interested in. Support your kids and be a good sports parent Join other families No one lives in a bubble. We are all part of a community, so make sure your family builds relationships with other families. Whether it’s in the neighborhood, at school, at church, or in other ways, it’s important to spend time with other families, too. Sharing time with other families will strengthen your own family bonds and help you see how your family members interact with others.
Remember that your children and teens learn by example. The best way to set a positive example for them is to make family a high priority. When you make time for family fun and activities, you not only show that family is important to you, but also that you value your children. There is no greater gift you can give your family – and no better way to strengthen your family bonds – than to make family a priority.
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