While there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all formula for a happy family, there are a number of common factors that all happy families share
What is a happy family? Is it one where mum and dad are always smiling, dad’s always mowing the lawn and mum’s making delicious dishes in the kitchen? That might have been true in the 50s but there days, there are families with two parents and some with single parents. However, even if yours isn’t a ‘traditional’ family, it’s still possible to be a happy together.
It may be a little difficult with challenges such as technology taking up lots of everyone’s time plus there’s the stress that affects both children and adults, related to excelling at school and at work, to consider. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way. There are many factors that make a family happy but here’re some of the golden rules to follow.
#1: Talk to each other
People can’t read minds so what makes you think that glaring at your dad will accurately convey your feelings? Talking about your feelings isn’t easy but sometimes, just sitting down with a cup of tea and discussing the doubts or problems you might be facing, could put things into perspective.
Additionally, after talking to a family elder, you might learn something new or find a new way to tackle your problems. There shouldn’t be any secrets or avoidance of any issues in a family because you should feel safe enough to be yourself at home.
One thing that children thrive on is a calm and stable environment. Talk to your children, enforce strict rules and punish them if you must but always keep your cool. Losing control and yelling at your children creates an unstable, unsupportive environment.
#2: Respect is a two-way street
Our culture is practically obsessed with the idea of respecting your elders. However, a happy family should have members that respect each other, regardless of age. In a family, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, feelings and beliefs, and respecting these validates his or her presence as a member of your family.
Every member of the family needs to be seen as a separate individual with their own unique set of needs and wants. Respecting each and every one of your family members creates a safe space for everyone to be themselves.
#3: Encouraging everyone
Be everyone else’s cheerleading squad! Wholeheartedly nurture and support the various dreams, aspirations and goals of your family members. This way, when one of you feels like you won’t be able to reach you goals, you can always fall back on the family, like a safety net.
In a case where failure occurs, having an encouraging family can really help you pick yourself up to try again.
#4: Meaningful rituals
Meaningful rituals here mean gathering your family together to celebrate and support each other. This refers to family-related rituals such have holiday dinners, religious observations and birthdays.
Having meaningful rituals with your family members will give all of you an opportunity to share stories, comfort and console those who are sad and maybe even solve problems! This makes each family member feel closer to the others which can be beneficial especially for people suffering from depression.
Professor and Chair of Psychology at Syracuse University (New York, US), Dr. Barbara Fiese, says that happy families have meaningful rituals that are unique. This could just be a weekly pizza night but it is still a ritual that brings family members closer because it is a repeated activity that everyone can look forward to.
#5: Never ‘too busy’
Make time for your family. Anyone can get carried away at work especially during the height of their career but what happens if you fail at work? What is there to fall back on? Your family, of course!
Carve out time during the weekend to spend with your family and this also applies to the children. Having six or seven co-curriculum activities a week is frankly quite a lot on a child’s plate. If you have multiple children, it’s entirely possible that you won’t be able to see your whole brood at one time.
Pick a time and make sure that each and every family member will be there. Create your own after school activities like rollerblading, bike riding or going for a swim. Laugh, enjoy and make memories together.
Always make it a point to come home and have dinner and have a house rule of no gadgets at the dinner table. This encourages you to talk to each other instead of typing or staring at screens.
#6: Group effort
A happy family is one that doesn’t keep score about who should be doing what. Conversely, everyone is willing to pitch in and share the household chores and responsibilities because that’s what a family does – share responsibilities and work together.
Many families have their ups and downs but depending on how the family reacts to these trials and tribulations, it can either strengthen or weaken familial bonds. Any effort to connect communicate and understand each other will go a long way toward building a happy family with bonds that last a lifetime.