BUILDING STRONG FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Strong families are the foundation of a strong society.

Family teaches us how we can function in the real world. It should be a source of love and warmth for all its members. A strong family provides the support its members need to get through the toughest times in life.

Good communication is key to strong families.

Strong families have open communication lines — where all members feel heard. To strengthen your family, you can improve your listening skills and those of your family members. We cannot build strong relationships if we don’t hear each other.

Listen to one another actively to build strong family relationships.

  • Give the person your complete attention. Turn off the TV, or put down the phone.
  • Instead of focusing on your reactions or responses to what they say, focus on the message. (There will be plenty of time.
  • Pay attention to how the other person feels and then relay what you heard and how you feel. I hear you saying you don’t like your sis. You seem pretty insane. You look pretty mad.
  • Refrain from giving advice or expressing your reactions until you fully understand what the person is saying.

Talking with someone, use “I” messages instead of “You”.

  • Because messages require us to be honest about our thoughts and feelings, they can be more difficult. However, they increase the likelihood that our message will reach others and reduce the chance that a fight will start.
    • “All this fighting is not my cup of tea. It is very disappointing to see you two not getting along. Instead of saying, “What’s the deal with you two?” You are driving me insane! Can’t you ever get along?”
  • Encourage everyone in your family and friends to use “I” messages. –I am feeling…. (I feel upset) when you see me (playing video games before you finish your homework).
    • You should not send “You” messages. They can cause bad feelings and increase fighting. “You” messages are not likely to solve the problem.

Encourage family members to express their feelings and thoughts.

Strong families allow everyone in the family to share their feelings and thoughts, no matter how small or large. However, this does not mean members should be disrespectful of each other. Instead, feelings and ideas must be respected.

Everybody should be expected and encouraged to communicate their feelings appropriately, such as using “I” messages. People feel more confident in their abilities, feel more connected to others, and feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts with them.

Strong families spend time together.

It can be hard for families to make time for each other in today’s hectic world. Attention is essential for all relationships, including the family.

Family rituals are when families can get together and give one another the attention they need. A family ritual means a set time each week to meet. It could be a meal together, a holiday celebration, going to church, or going on a walk with the family. It is essential that your family rituals are consistent and don’t allow other activities to disrupt them.

Family rituals are a way to define our family. It gives the family time to come together, share their experiences, and reconnect with each other. Knowing that your family will get time together can be a comforting thing. Children can be assured that their parents will be there for them every evening or weekend, regardless of work.

Each child is unique and deserves a special time with his parents.

Your child will be more likely to trust you if you give them some “special time”. Your child will depend on you and enjoy this “special time” with you if it is a routine. This “special time” should not be interrupted by other activities. This includes avoiding answering the phone.

Let your child help you choose how to spend the time. You can read, sing, go on a walk, or play a game with your child.

Find ways to connect with your child.

While it is important to spend time with your child, you should also find small moments to connect with them. Research shows that parents are the most effective at connecting with their children by spending a short amount of time, usually 1-2 minutes, in child-preferred activities. While doing chores together, you can tell stories, discuss concerns, and read a book while waiting for your dinner to be finished. Although we often believe that we must wait until our “special moment”, these little moments allow us to stay connected even when the time is not.

Families with strong families manage conflict well.

Conflict is a part of family life. Strong families can work together to resolve conflicts by focusing on the problem and not “tearing each other down”.

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