Have you ever wondered why some families seem closer than others in how they relate to each other? Is it heredity that gives some people more empathy toward others in the relationship that can explain it in regard to dealing with everyday stresses of family life? Our society today and the demands it makes on us is another possible reason for how it has changed the dynamics of our family relationships to cause emotional distance. If you hope to tighten family bonds, here are some helpful suggestions that can close that gap and strengthen your family.
Rethink How You Spend Your Time
In today’s society, mother and father usually both have to work unlike the past generations when mothers stayed home to care for the family. Though career success is just as important for women as men, it also can take a toll on the family. After all, both parents return home tired and stressed, often with unfinished demands and interruptions from work that often is shared with their family members. There seems less time for relaxing or to hear problems to dreams of what is really going on with their family in between just trying to put a meal together, do some laundry, errands before it’s time to get ready for the next day.
Parents trying to be the best parents chauffeuring their kids to practices often forget that it is not the same as spending time with their children. Dropping them off at a destination and returning to claim them is a far cry from doing some small activity together. Yet, how can you have time you may think?
To gain more time, think how you utilize some of your free time. For example, if you’re the type that tries to fit in all the chores every night so you can free up your Saturday, then you may want to reconsider so you can allot more time to your family. Perhaps, your children typically spend time on Saturdays with their friends. Instead, try to do the bulk of those chores on Saturday and just chill with them. You don’t have to plan an activity just do something as simply as watching a movie together, playing a game to making baby doll clothes together if you have a girl. These activities can say I love you much better and form happy memories than trying to buy love out of guilt with expensive gifts.
Family Should Take Priority Over Friends
Though as important as our adult friends are to us, our family should have top priority. When we let those relationships interfere too often with the time we give our families, then children suffer. When they feel neglected, they can often act out those feelings and rebel. Parents are playing a dangerous game because children can want to test them to gain their attention. Let me demonstrate. When I was in high school, I knew a girl that got into a bad crowd. I was not her friend, but one day she confided in me for some strange reason. She told me that her parents used to always buy her tons of expensive gifts at Christmas, but could care less about her so she used to steal liquor from their liquor cabinet just to see if they would notice. With all the bottles in their cabinet, her parents never missed it or the fact that she was crying out for their love–not presents by taking what she hoped would be missed. Why she shared that story with me, a person in her study hall, was shocking. My guess was that even a warm body was better to talk to than an absent one.
Understand What Each Family Member Is About to Tighten Family Bonds
Raising children doesn’t always mean you understand them as people. Of course, you know what their likes and dislikes are. Yet, there could be an emotional distance between you. Talking and sharing hopes, dreams, fears, and goals of each family member is the only way you truly understand how to reach them and better connect. Asking them what they worry about or a question like what makes them feel happy and loved are a start to get them to open up to you. When you find time to really talk and draw them out with these type of questions can you really get to know them. Regardless of what they say, listen and don’t hastily judge. Otherwise, you will not make any progress to bring that family member that emotional security he or she needs to feel more valued.
Dinner Is Family Time for Strengthening Relationships
Family schedules can often conflict. Regardless, sitting down to a family meal and table talk can help members understand what is going on with their lives and everyday problems. When parents are too busy to miss that opportunity of spending time dining together for meaningful conversations, then you are clueless as to what is really going on with your children. Mealtime can help break through barriers from underlying issues before they grow out of control to tighten family bonds.
Establish Family Rituals
Families do things in their own way together and establish rituals that differ from one family to the next. For instance, my family always reserves Sunday to enjoy homemade pizza made by my guy. The whole family looks forward to our pizza day. When something happens that pizza day is missed, it breaks up the continuity of the day that was so special to us.
What I’m saying is that all families do something special together whether it is opening up Christmas presents at the stroke of midnight, dying Easter eggs, going to the first baseball game of the season, etc. All these activities form lasting memories that bind families together. When neglecting family rituals, families lose the sense of closeness and bonding associated with that family unit.
Each of us gets one family in life for better or worse. Hopefully, these suggestions can only help tighten family bonds.