Good family relationships are the foundation of a strong family unit. The greatest gift a parent can give to their child is an environment that is caring and nurturing throughout their youth and into adulthood. This will teach children how to establish relationships with the family that will be happy and healthy while promoting a well-rounded and adjusted individual into adulthood.
However, in every relationship there will be times of struggling, disagreeing, anger, disappointment and many trials. All relationships are unique within a family unit. Even when it is a good one, it still needs to be worked on to keep it strong and running smooth. The following are some tips that will help keep family ones strong.
1. Maintain Trust and Honesty
Without these two key elements a relationship can’t be successful. Established trust and honesty are essential and required to help ensure integrity and happiness. All other aspects of a solid and fulfilled one within a family rides on the level of trust and honesty shared among the members within the family unit. This can be a battle to maintain but a must. Remaining sincere and genuine through our own actions is the best way to teach our children to respond in the same manner.
2. Keep Communication Open
Communication is cornerstone and key to all good relationships in our lives, but most importantly within a family. It is important for each member of the family to allow the others to express their thoughts, emotions and ideas freely and without judgment. Showing concern and interest in the other person’s life is also important. Listen openly and be sensitive when doing so. Try to view the other person’s point of view when communicating.
Do not try to mind-read and assume to understand their feelings. Encourage them to express their feelings by sharing yours openly, honestly and clearly. Label your expectations. When there is a strain in the relationship, be mindful, stop and think before talking. Many times when we are upset at another, it is easy to lash out and say things we later regret. This will only lead to a breakdown in communication and a more stressed and strained family relationship.
3. Show Respect to Others
All family relationships will have some level of conflict within them but more so between parents and children. Respect is crucial during these times to maintain good relationships and bonds. Having a mutual respect will help reduce hurt feelings and bitterness that often results from tension within a family. It is very important for children to show respect for their parent’s authority but included is respect that the parent should show their child. This respect should be geared towards their value and choices, appropriately made for their age. Belittling, harsh words and lose of temper should be avoided.
Mutual respect encourages the lines of communication to remain open, and closeness within a family unit. While parents need and deserve the respect of their authority in the household, it is important for parents to remember their kids need to be shown their value and be treated with respect and kindness with the forethought that their parents are not controlling every aspect of their lives. This will only promote rebellion and a huge breakdown within a relationship. Parent with unconditional love while enforcing the rules, but remember to reciprocate in a fair manner and be consistent with your expectations.
4. Spend Time Together
Spending quality time together is a must in all family relationships to maintain strong bonds. Family dinners and movie or game nights are perfect for spending quality time together. Including smiles, laughter and fun always creates special memories and bonds. Individuals are never too old to include playfulness and fun in any family relationship that they desire to keep alive and healthy, especially between spouses.
Spending individual time together among family members is also just as important. This is particularly true when there are teens in the house. In today’s hi-tech world, it is easy to lose our teens interest with all the latest gadgets and shows that the internet and TV provide. Studies and research show that teens are wanting more time with their parents, but more so with their father. Turn off the television and unhook the Wi-Fi regularly with planned time with your little ones and teens. Make your time fun and well spent, and always reinforce to your family members you are available and have time for them.
Being mindful about the relationships within our household and practicing the above steps will help ensure family bonding and ties that bind. These ties and bonds are what truly matter the most in life, and will lead to a stronger and healthier family unit.