What is the secret to having a happy family? Is there some special thing that some families do that make their kids actually want to hang out at home? How have some families found the key to having a home that feels good when you walk in the door?
It really isn’t a secret and there’s no one special thing. It just requires a lot of love, patience, respect, and hard work. Any family can be happy if they do these ten things.
Show unconditional love.
All parents love their child. But the key is that your child must realize that they are loved. Tell your child often that you love them. Display affection often, even if it is difficult. Even the child who professes to not need it still craves a physical display of love. You must make your actions consistent with your words. Telling your child that you love them then calling them stupid or yelling at them negates your previous declaration of love. Every child is going to need to be disciplined but afterwards remind your child that you love them, just not their behavior.
Eat dinner together.
The family who eats together stays together. This statement is truer than many families realize. Often because of conflicting schedules families eat in shifts. But dinnertime is a great time for a family to gather together: discuss the days’ events, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company. Making time to eat dinner together as a family will ensure that your family stays connected.
Share beliefs and values.
Share your beliefs and values with your children. Studies have shown that children are less likely to engage in deviant or destructive behaviors when they know that their parents would disapprove. Have a set belief of values or religion gives a child something to base their actions upon.
Loving parents are those that set clear guidelines and expectations for their child and then follow through with consequences when the rules are broken. Children need to know that their parents expect certain behavior and are more likely to meet those expectations when they are given.
The family that works together builds bonds. Working fosters a sense of accomplishment and unity within the family. Every child and parent should have certain chores that they are expected to do. The family cannot function unless everyone does their part. If a family hurries and gets the work done then they can play. One of my friend’s families made sure that all of the housecleaning, yard work, and homework was finished before the weekend. That way the family could spend the entire day Saturday together having fun.
Designate some time each week when your family gets together and just has fun. The reason teenagers leave the home is because the home isn’t any fun. So make some fun. Have a family game night, movie night, or go outside. There are lots of great ideas for family fun in the Family Fun blogs. Even if your teenagers protest make them attend. Part of being a teenager is protesting family time, but secretly most teenagers want to be involved.
Take care of yourself.
Parents need to take care of their own needs. Which means that if parents are married that they need to spend time with their spouse and make sure that their marriage relationship is strong. If a parent is single then they need to arrange time away from their children by dating or going out with friends.
Respect each other.
Respect goes both ways. Parents need to respect their children, their ideas, privacy, and dreams. Children need to respect their parents and the family rules.
Be aware of developmental stages.
Every age brings its with it its own challenges. Being aware of the development stage that your child is won’t eliminate their annoying behavior but it will help explain it.
Help each other achieve dreams.
Realize that no family is perfect but when you work, play, and share anything is possible. Encourage your children to reach for their dreams. Then help them achieve those dreams.
Stay tuned for future blogs that will focus on the 10 different things in greater detail.