We can choose our friends, but we can’t choose our family. Whatever the family dynamic is like, improving those relationships is absolutely essential for our mental and physical wellbeing. In today’s busy world, families who don’t actively engage with each other start to become more like strangers who live together. Relationships break down, depression rises and the end result can be a rather unhappy home. Here are some great tips on how to improve your family bonds.
One of the main causes of the breakdown of relationships is a lack of good communication. While it might sound counterproductive, put the phones down and stop texting each other. Nothing can replace face to face interactions. Communication needs to be a key focus in the home. This is where family members should feel that they are most accepted and won’t be judged. Parents need to make the home a safe environment for difficult conversations to take place with the kids or with each other. This point spreads far beyond just the important conversations.
Talking in general needs to be a priority. Finding out the events of everyone’s day and having that general chit chat on a daily basis will pave the way to more and more conversations between family members, which will inevitably lead to better relationships.
Falling in line with communication is support. The two go hand in hand. Family members need to know that they have each other’s backs in every way possible. Parents should let their kids know that they are proud of them for their achievements and that they believe in them. Spouses should support each other through new business ventures, projects, and difficult times. A family support system should be physical, emotional, and financial.
Every human needs love and affection to feel accepted and special. There are many different ways to show affection and everybody’s needs are unique. The only way to figure out the affectionate needs of a person is to spend enough time with them. Babies and small children generally require lots of cuddling and reassurance from parents. Older children might require frequent hugs and the words “I love you” being spoken often. Teenagers will find great reassurance from words of affirmation like “I’m proud of you.” Affection between spouses should also never be neglected as this is what will keep the marriage glued together.
None of the above points can take place properly if there isn’t enough quality time between family members. Overcrowding each other’s space and never having a break is not healthy either, so the balance needs to be right. One of the best ways to achieve this balance is to set out designated times for “family time” and have everyone set their schedules accordingly. For instance, Sundays can be set aside as family only days. No friends or outside influences, just the family unit spending the day together without their devices. Other great examples of quality time are family vacations, sitting around the dinner table together, or implementing a board game night during the week.
No price can be put on the importance of our family relationships. These are the people with whom we share our lives. They are the most important people to us and they should be treated as such.