Family is the most important unit in the world and yet, it is attacked and tried as the standard family takes on different roles now. There are families with two parents, families with one and even families where one of the children has to raise their siblings for one reason or another.
Why is it important? If you think about anything you do in life, whether it’s perform well at a sport, work, or any other venture, having people that support you is something that can help us dig deep and push on in the difficult moments. Sometimes that encouragement is out of fear for failing. Others is because we want to make ourselves, and our family members happy.
As I talk about this, I know there are many exceptions to this because families are made up of imperfect individuals, striving to become better and move forward to accomplish goals. We might have been raised in a home where family is everything, or in a home where friends became more like family.
But no matter your situation, we can always improve. We can always strengthen the bond we have as a family and conquer any trial, setback, or crisis together.
Spend Time Together
This may seem like a no-brainer but sometimes it’s the simple things that can trip us up. As with anything, you don’t really know something or someone until you’ve spent time studying and learning about them.
When left alone for a significant amount of time, boredom sets in. All sorts of things can happen then. It can be small things like finding a permanent marker and marking up every wall and cabinet in the house. It can be as serious as pornography, an addiction which takes hold and takes time to overcome. That’s why spending time together can help combat some of this.
Take a vacation
Many don’t have the means to go on a vacation every other week of the year but small vacations create memories that each member can look back on over the years. We have taken weekend trips to National Parks and other fun places and although our kids are small, it was fun to get out and do something with them.
Maybe you think that spending time with your kids is more of a hassle than it’s worth. Your kids can sense that. If they act out a lot, chances are they just want a little more attention than they get normally. No matter what age your kids are, whether they’re 6 months or a teenager, any chance you can get to influence them for the good is time well spent.
Sometimes it is a hassle. We took a trip to Yellowstone back in September, and the babies were about three months old. Yes, we were probably crazy to drag them on a three-hour drive but we got out of the house after the craziness of the NICU and figuring out the daily schedule. Because of feedings and naps, we were only able to see a small part of the park. But the hotel we stayed in had fun waterslide with the pool and C still talks about “going down on my belly by myself!”
Why it matters
It matters. Whether your child just started a sport at age 5, 8, 12, whatever. They will remember if you made it to the game. Or if they have a recital or performance. Make the time to be with them, even if it’s something you aren’t interested in. Because you never know if it’s something they will stick with and become proficient at.
But this isn’t to say that you have to hover over your children and stay with them at every moment. That would be bad, mostly because you’re robbing them of the chance to explore, learn and grow from the mistakes they’re making. You need time away as well but it’s always that balance that you have to find in order to make it work with your family.
Work toward a common cause
No one cares about your family more than you. As a family, you can work together to reach goals and accomplish things that would be near impossible without the help of your spouse and children. That may seem opposite of what it seems because it may be easier to accomplish things alone.
College would have been more difficult for me to finish with children. But as Max works towards his degree, we are there to support him, which usually means that I correct his papers before they are turned in. We work towards making a better life for our kids and that means supporting each other in all the crazy endeavors.
Good communication – Listening & Speaking
Obviously a dictator-like household will have a difficult time of becoming a stronger family. Good communication begins with the parents because the kids use that as their example for life. No pressure, right?
We talked a little about this in another post, but it needs to be a constant listen and talking conversation. We will not always agree on things but it’s about finding a common ground or a solution that fits the best. It’s being patient enough to see the other’s opinion and then figuring out what is best for the group as a whole.
I haven’t always been good at talking about how I feel but I’ve made progress. No, my life isn’t without the ups and downs because of it but it definitely makes things less stressful in most situations. Things I would usually assume can be straightened out in a matter of a few words rather than bottling them up and then exploding after so long.
If you constantly forget to tell your spouse things you are supposed to, set and alarm or make a note of it. When something is bugging you, find a way to talk about it without all of the emotion involved. I know, that’s sometimes easier said than done but yelling and accusing don’t always have the desired effect of change. And something we tend to forget is saying thank you for effort put in to whatever task is at hand.
Give genuine compliments
Think about the last compliment you received. How did you feel?
I’m sure it felt pretty good to have someone notice something you did and go out of their way to comment on it. That is something we need to remember with our families. We need to give genuine compliments for the things we see, because if it’s fake, that discredits when we are truthful about it or not.
One of the hardest things about families is that each person has different abilities and talents. The worst part is using compliments that compare one to another in the family. There is nothing that can hurt more than veiling a compliment with somehow hurting a member of your family.
You obviously don’t want to only be spewing compliments because people won’t believe them but you don’t want to have them so far apart that your children have only received one in the entire time they lived at home. Compliments can go a lot further to encouraging than threats so make sure to use them to build up rather than passive-aggressively tear down.
Deal with crises together
When the tough things come your way, it’s nice to know that your family is there to support you or that you can support each other along the way.
Two weeks after the triplets came home from the hospital, we noticed that one of the boys was having a hard time breathing and so we took him in. They said it was a flu at first and sent him home on oxygen. Later that day, M started to show the same signs and then the next day, HD did the exact same things (I tell you, no matter how much you try to avoid it, when one baby gets sick, they all do!).
It turned out that they all had the flu but it was affecting them in different ways besides the initial signs. For M, it turned into viral meningitis. We received a call from the hospital that they were flying her to the nearest children’s hospital to be treated.
I drove the 1.5 hours to be with her for the next three days, while Max stayed with the three boys. It was because of the trust I have in him to take care of things that I was able to concentrate on her getting better, knowing things wouldn’t be a complete disaster when we came home. It was a scary time, because no one could give us a definitive answer about whether or not she would be okay. That’s when prayer played a big role.
Have a belief system
Believing in something has been proven to strengthen families. Whether you believe in a certain religion or other theories, belief in something greater than you and your family helps to work together on that common goal.
The benefits of believing in certain doctrines and principles as a family is that it gives a framework for how to teach your children, making it easier to be consistent in your discipline and in your praise. Prayer, meditation or many other ways can help us connect with God and make it so we feel comfort. There are so many things outside of our control that believing in an external force can help us get through some of the more difficult times.
Your family might not be perfect but as you work together, it will become stronger, allowing you to face whatever life throws at you.
Build Strong Relationships Now!
Strong Relationships, noun.
1. able to withstand great force or pressure.
Marriage & Family are the most important relationships we can have in this life. Join us as we work to strengthen each other and fight to help others do the same!