Modern families seem to lead such disparate lives. Parents are nose-down in their careers, teenagers are busy with their peers or in their bedrooms and the littles are often with carers. Children grow so quickly and family dynamics can change without our even noticing the chasms that can form. Can anything be done? Yes of course; sometimes, minor adjustments are all that are needed to revitalise a loving family dynamic. We offer some tips…
Family vitality is, well, vital
It’s what reminds us that we are connected and supported, that we are important and loved. And it’s something that busy families often neglect to nurture. There’s no need to schedule an hour each day to spend together, but setting aside a short time to simply sit and chat together will be fruitful.
Make a point of scheduling quality time
It may be a cliché, but like all such phrases its foundation is true. Spending ‘quality’ or mindful time with your family really does make everyone feel like an integral part of the unit. Most of us are very busy and have so many responsibilities that we overlook the ones closest to our hearts. We all need to feel important and acknowledged, and it’s so easy to achieve. We don’t need to devote hours to our loved ones to reconnect with them; it’s simply a case of spending some time each day being 100 percent present for them, really listening and giving them our undivided attention. Put away cellphones, laptops and the TV and express your interest in their lives. Listen when they speak. Celebrate their uniqueness. React rationally if they offer information you feel needs discussing. Celebrate family successes, share setbacks or changes in the family and chat about social plans.
Show you’re happy to see them
A journalist once wrote that the thing he remembers best about his mother is the way her eyes lit up whenever he walked into a room. He felt appreciated and loved. Make hugging a big part of your family routine too. Hug before you leave the house, when you come home and before you go to bed. That physical contact reduces stress and makes you happier. Just do it, even if the recipient of your hug is your reluctant teenager.
Focus on the good rather than the slip-ups
Everyone responds better to praise than to criticism, so concentrate on the positive actions and aspects of your spouse’s or children’s day. Don’t let them bear the brunt of your work frustrations. Leave those at the office.
Admit your faults
All families have disagreements. If you’re snippy because you’ve had a bad day, own up and apologise. And accept apologies when they are offered. Hanging onto grudges will, in the end, harm only you. Resentment steals your joy, your happiness and your health.
Loosen up, have fun. Share funny events, joke, be goofy or silly or even watch a comedy together. Old family movies generate hoots of laughter too. Laughter is a wonderful medicine and can do wonders for creating a loving and happier family. You’ll create memories to treasure too.
One more thing
If possible, do try to eat together without the TV blaring in the background. And keep the mood light, for both digestion and family harmony. It may even help you live longer.