Families, like all relationships, are built on trust, respect, and communication. Having open channels of communication is a great way to build the connection and bond in your family.
The perfect family? Perfect is what’s perfect to you
It’s easy for people to think that they need to have a ‘perfect’ family, and that ‘perfect’ means a certain thing. To the average American, it might be a beautiful home facade design, with a white picket fence, and 4 people living within it that defines ‘perfect’.
However, as all individuals are different, different families will always have different ideas of what is ideal. Some families live simply, others pursue a more prestigious lifestyle. But regardless of what kind of family culture you have, it’s important never to compare it with someone else’s.
Activities don’t grow bonds, quality time together does
Doing things together doesn’t automatically make your bond stronger. Having down-time together, relaxing and allowing the chance for natural interactions to occur is much more beneficial to familial relationships than a jam-packed schedule filled with activities.
When you’re flitting from one activity to another, you’re so hyper-stimulated that you can’t focus on deep conversations and deeper connections. Hiking or camping for example, are great ways to bond because the focus is on the present.
Quality time also shouldn’t be forced on the whole family, as this only leads to resentment – especially amongst teenagers who tend to be more interested in the outside world. However, make it a point to decide together when would be a good time for everyone to get together, and start from there.
Research shows that teenagers who enjoy having dinner with their family are less likely to get involved in harmful behaviour such as smoking, drinking, or doing drugs. On a whole, they are much more mentally-balanced and physically healthier so it’s important to try and build this into your weekly routine.
Treat everyone the same, but different
Your approach to developing a deeper bond and connection in your family may need to be different with different members, but don’t let that grow into favouritism. Offering all individuals equal time and attention is important, but you don’t have to engage with everyone in exactly the same way.
For instance, some children prefer physical activities, whilst others may prefer watching a movie or playing a video game. Forcing each child to do an activity whether they like it or not is not going to build a solid relationship.
Focus on their strengths and interests, but don’t let that mean you spend a disproportionate amount of time with some people over others. Equal opportunities should be given to all family members, including mothers and fathers.
Whilst you may be inclined to look for any ice-breaker with some people in your family, avid the temptation to fall into gossiping. One of the key evils in any relationship – and that includes families – is gossip. When you bad-mouth someone, it is a form of disrespect and it can easily turn family members against each other.
Gossip is an easy trap to fall into, because it promotes bonding between the people gossiping. Whilst it’s somewhat thrilling and addictive to discuss others, it can really hurt relationships by causing unnecessary drama. So if you need to communicate with someone, you are much better off doing it to their face. Honesty builds trust, whereas gossip will destroy it.