What’s life like around your house? Maybe you spend most of your time sharing happy moments or maybe you’re stuck arguing over the same old issues.
Conflicts are a natural part of family life. They can even be beneficial when handled constructively. On the other hand, a family that knows how to express love and pull together has its advantages. You enjoy more peace and happiness and you feel gratified knowing that your children are learning how to thrive as adults.
You can experience greater family harmony starting today. Use these ideas to create a climate of appreciation and cooperation.
- Eat as a family. Strong family relationships require time and effort. Mealtimes are an ideal opportunity for staying in touch and sharing in-depth conversation. As a bonus, you’ll probably eat healthier too.
- Connect individually. In addition to family dinners and outings, schedule one-on-one time with your partner and each of your children. Try to leave home for a date night at a restaurant or local theater at least once a week. Take your daughter to a science museum and play board games with your son.
- Stay active. If you’re like many families, you may be texting or watching TV even when you’re in the same room. Put aside the passive entertainment to go ride your bikes or visit the gym.
- Have fun. Make family gatherings and activities something you look forward to. Consider everyone’s interests when you’re planning vacations or holiday parties.
- Listen closely. Give your family members your full attention when they have something to say. Keep an open mind and resist the urge to interrupt. Use questions and gestures to show that you’re engaged.
- Provide validation. You can acknowledge each other’s feelings even when you disagree. Let your partner and children know that you care about their concerns and share your own similar experiences when appropriate.
- Seek balance. While some family members are bound to have more power than others, you can still work at treating each individual fairly. Give children choices and ask for their input as much as possible.
- Offer praise. Appreciate the unique strengths and abilities of each family member. Encourage your partner to talk about their accomplishments at work. Tell your children that you’re proud of them when they complete their homework or share their toys.
- Teach skills. Show your children how to resolve conflicts and talk about sensitive subjects. Provide a positive role model and use techniques like role playing or watching and discussing instructional videos.
- Create rituals. Holiday traditions and nightly bedtime stories encourage strong bonds. Develop your own practices that will reinforce your family values and give you a sense of belonging.
- Do your share. Families flourish when each member contributes generously. Let your children know what a big difference it makes when they do their chores and watch out for their younger siblings. Divide up responsibilities with your partner based on your talents and goals.
- Plan and prepare. Sometimes you can anticipate events that may be challenging for your family to handle. Plan ahead and set some ground rules for how you’ll deal with visits from your in-laws or the first time your teen arrives home long after their curfew.
- Consider counseling. Maybe you feel like you need more help, or you think an outside perspective could shed light on a recurring issue. Family counseling could reveal new options and give you additional tools for dealing with difficult situations.
You can change your family dynamics. Replace tension and arguments with collaboration and respectful conversation. A nurturing home environment creates peace and harmony.