HOW TO STRENGTHEN FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Let’s be frank.
Finding ways to strengthen family bonds with tweens and teens
is hard work.
You lie awake at night worrying, don’t you?
That your family is not always happy and smiling like those on the cover of Hello magazine?
That your family relationships are an incomplete scrabble game you have no time to finish?
You feel pressure to bulletproof your relationship with your kids.
But what if I tell you that you can change this?
That you will be able to easily find ways to strengthen your family relationships.
To build Tupperware – airtight bonds so that the family becomes what every mom wants:
- • a source of joy and happiness
- • a foundation of support and comfort
- • a sanctuary in times of stress and conflict
This post gives you 7 tips guaranteed to cement your bonds with your kids.
Ready? Let’s dive right in.
1. MAKE A FAMILY VISION BOARD
Have you ever been grocery shopping without a list?
Traipsed up and down each aisle trying to remember what’s the heck’s on the list stuck on the refrigerator door?
You get home to find you forgot the stuff you needed for the next day.
So if you want an awesome relationship with your family, follow Jack’s cue and create a family vision board.
WHAT IS A FAMILY VISION BOARD?
It is a visual portrayal of your family’s goals and dreams.
Pictures, quotes, inspiring messages, photos, symbols, lines from songs etc are used to make a poster.
HOW A FAMILY VISION BOARD STRENGTHENS FAMILY TIES
It is based on the principle of visualization, a powerful mental exercise often used by Olympic athletes to reach their goals.
A family vision board documents the contribution of every member to a united life vision for the family.
Putting the family vision board on the living room or kitchen wall means that you see it several times in the day.
So every time you see the board you do a short visualization.
This, in turn, urges you on a day to day basis to strive to make those dreams and goals for your family a reality.
Here’s an example:
HOW TO CREATE A FAMILY VISION BOARD
STEPS TO TAKE
- – Call a family meeting
- – Discuss the idea of a Family Vision Board
- – Decide what to include
- – Two-part structure
– list the goals
– list the steps to take to reach your goals
- – break down each goal into action steps
- Check the first goal and action steps in the below table to see how to do this.
This step is optional but it puts the seal of commitment to the family as a unit.
Use the table as a guide. You can tweak and change it to suit your family.
The simple act of creating a family vision board together stirs values such as love, loyalty, unity and commitment to the family.
A great way to build an amazing relationship with your family.
2. MAKE YOUR HOME A SANCTUARY
Here’s the thing – you have the family vision board which looks delightful in its rustic frame.
You need to now create a backdrop which encourages positive vibes. What you want to do here is reinforce the idea of your home being a place of welcome, belonging and refuge. At the end of a busy day at work or school, it’s the one place you really look forward to going to.
The aim is not to win a photoshoot with House magazine. Some things you could do together:
- • Choose calming colors for paint and furnishings
- • Personalize with family pictures
- • Create a collage of the kids’ art pieces
- • Plant a garden of colorful perennials
- • Place flowers and plants at select points
- • Set up a soothing point in the garden
- • Decorate bedrooms to suit the personality of each child
Poring over decor magazines or visiting home decor stores to build the right look for your home presents a unique bonding opportunity for your family.
Add to your family memory bank as you work together to make your home a zone of peace and beauty.
Sounds good so far, doesn’t it?
3. LOVING COMMUNICATION BUILDS POWERFUL
The family vision board and the serene atmosphere in the home make you feel good, doesn’t it?
But all this would be in vain if your home is a war zone.
If there’s resentment and anger in your interaction with one another. If all of you scream and shout and rant and rave.
Look at this interaction between a teen and his mom.
A teenager responds to a loving question about his day with a foul grunt.
In anger, you spew cutting words intended to wound.
What you should do is ignore the disgruntled response. Listen to what your teen’s silence is telling you.
Say, ‘ Looks like your day was terrible. Why don’t you take some time to unwind?
If you are up to it, we can chat about it later. ’
Your teen will come back to talk later. He will probably be more open about the reason for his bad mood because of your gentle, loving reaction.
PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY
During family discussions:
- • Practice active listening
- • Make eye contact
- • Don’t check Emails or Facebook
- • Allow for other viewpoints without judgment
- • Give support and encouragement
- • Show love and affection
Of course, there will be times of trouble and conflict. But these should be infrequent rather than the norm.
The goal is to have a home rich in love, understanding, and kindness. A home you all look forward to coming to all day while at work or school.
Develop the idea in your teens that home is a place of fun and happiness. That it’s ok to want to hang out at home with the family.
ACTIVITIES TO STRENGTHEN YOUR FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
You’ve laid the foundation for a happy family – established family goals and worked flat out to make your home a haven.
Create a memory bank for your family. Make fun, exciting and adventurous deposits into it regularly.
Confused? Let me explain.
You need to spice things up with some unique fun stuff to take your family bonds from blah to banging.
Here are a few such family bonding activities.
4. KITE FLYING
Have you seen a brightly colored kite soaring in a clear blue sky?
PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY
Did you feel a lift in your mood at the sight?
Why not be a child again and go kite flying with the whole family?
There are no barriers to flying a kite. All you need is a kite, an open field, a little wind, and enthusiasm.
The kite lures you with its cheerful waving in the wind. For a time, it commands and gets your total attention.
While flying a kite, is fun, there are a few other pluses:
- • Creativity in design/selection of the kite
- • Problem-solving to make the kite stay the course
- • Spending quality time together
- • Enjoying Tech – free time
- • Sharing matters both trivial and heartfelt
- • Improving socializing skills
Psychology Today cites many health benefits to flying kites:
- • Aerobic exercise
- • Relieves stress, anxiety, and depression
- • Exercises the shoulder and neck muscles
Definitely a worthy fun investment in the memory bank. Why not try it with your family?
5. WEEKLY FAMILY TIME OUTDOORS
Not exercise to keep fit – just a walk in a beautiful setting once a week.
It could be at a local park or a nearby beach. But a time outdoors together.
Why? For you as a family:
- • to breathe in good, clean, fresh air
- • enjoy the beauty of nature
- • talk free of the interruptions of social media and tech
Family time outdoors also allows you to watch other families.
- For example, your teen may note a mom chiding a child for a spilled milkshake and voice his opinion.
- He may even go on to say the parent needs to adopt your family rule for such incidents.
- It is these moments that allow you to do a silent stocktake of your teen’s character.
This once – a – week – outdoor time together loosens the tensions of the week.
- Sharing of dreams and goals for the future. A family bonding chance to grab?
6. BE A TOURIST FOR A DAY
The world is a book and those who do not travel
read only one page.
Rev the excitement factor with something your family has not ever done.
You’ve all seen them – tourists -rubber stamped with sunglasses, camera.
Behind a tour guide chattering excitedly and smiling broadly as they visit a tourist spot in your city.
Why not copy them?
Be a tourist for a day and get to know the history and attractions of your city.
Visit your local tourist center and pick up maps and brochures.
Then have a family meeting and plan a day visiting local interesting spots.
What’s in it for you and your family?
- • Shared pleasure and enjoyment
- • Satisfaction of family bonding
- • Meeting new people
It gives you as a parent a unique view of your family’s strengths and weaknesses.
For example, you may find out that your teen’s tech ability gets you from one tourist spot to the next without getting lost.
Or that he is sociable and not shy. That all he had to do was ask, ‘ Where are you from? ’ to get a conversation going.
You may decide after being a tourist for a day to plan a road trip or a vacation overseas.
Worth a try with your family, don’t you think? Think about the pics for your digital photo album.
7. COOK DINNER TOGETHER
Is there chaos in your home come dinner – time?
Not enough time to cook so you resort to tasteless take – out?
If this is you, you’re missing out big time on a golden family bonding opportunity.
PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY
World famous British chef Jamie Oliver says:
I wholeheartedly believe that cooking is up there as one of the most valuable skills you can teach a child, right alongside reading and writing.
Your family is a team, and when you cook together a team effort is needed: from menu planning to buying ingredients, to meal prep and marinades.
As you chop and dice, stir and season, a camaraderie grows that makes your family a stronger unit.
Flavor combos and blending of herbs and spices add to the positive vibe in the kitchen.
Family recipes are passed to the next generation and memories recalled of events when particular dishes were made.
- • a varied, healthy diet
- • understanding of good nutrition
- • skills such as planning and organization
- • an adventurous palate
- • interest in different cuisines
Why not use cooking the evening meal to connect with your family?
So, it’s time to stop being a worry wart and take action.
Give 100% to growing your family into a sturdy oak that can withstand the strongest of storms.
Follow this simple action plan to build rock-solid family relationships:
1. Create a family vision board
2. Make your home a zone of peace and love
3. Show love in your daily communication
4. Find new fun activities to do together as a family
– kite flying
– weekly time outdoors
– be a tourist for a day in your home city
– cook dinner together daily or as often as you can
Do you have any tips to share on ways to strengthen family relationships?
Let me know in the comments below.