Strong, solid family relationships don’t just happen; there are critical elements that must be there for these family ties to develop. When a relationship is built on a firm foundation it can withstand the hiccups of daily life and the unexpected moments of chaos. Mutual respect, time for fun, constant encouragement and communicated love are the four pillars of any strong relationship.
1. Mutual Respect. A lack of respect creates problems in any relationship. When dealing with children adults need to remind themselves that respect is earned. Nagging, yelling, hitting, talking down, doing things for kids that they can do for themselves, following double standards are all disrespectful. (Ask yourself: do you require your children to knock before entering your bedroom but feel free to barge into theirs?) To establish mutual respect, we must be willing to demonstrate respect for our children. A great way to start is to minimize your negative talk. Speak with your children when the atmosphere is friendly and upbeat.
2. Time for Fun. Quality time is another key ingredient to building a healthy, happy relationship. It is not the quantity but the quality of time you spend with the members of your family that is important. One hour of quality time is much more valuable than five hours of conflict. Spend time daily with each member of your family doing something together that you both enjoy – invest in the relationship! I know you are busy, but your children won’t live with you forever! Savor the time you have with them NOW! In addition to individual time I strongly recommend that you schedule family fun each week, this should be a time to laugh, enjoy each other’s company and build memories that will comfort you for years to come.
3. Constant Encouragement. Believe in your family members so they can believe in themselves. Your children will especially benefit from your frequent encouragement. A cooperative relationship depends on how children feel about themselves and how they feel about you. So instead of focusing on your children’s mistakes, point out what you like and appreciate about them. Specifically describe what behaviors you want repeated, give them a recipe for success!
4. Communicated love. Clearly and regularly communicate to your family the love you have for them. This will increase your children’s sense of security and strengthen any marriage! Let your family feel and hear your love. A gentle pat on the back, hugs, kisses, and tousling hair are extremely important gestures. Your attitude also expresses your love. When you demonstrate mutual respect and allow your children to develop responsibility and independence and that is the deepest expression of love.
The time and effort you invest in your personal relationships will pay dividends for years to come. The sense of security, feelings of well being, and gratitude you experience from healthy family relationships will allow you to blossom in all areas of your life. In addition to knowing you have the support of your loved ones you will be more productive, and less stressed.