Family life can be challenging at times. There are so many people’s feelings, lives, and emotions to consider along with your own. Not to mention, you expect them to be considerate of you! But creating a happy family doesn’t have to be a big chore or cause a lot of fights. Call a family meeting and gather around your computer screen to read these fifteen tips and find out what happy families do differently.
1. They each choose to be part of the family.
Families don’t work if certain members don’t want to be there. Being a family is like being a team – you’re together for better or for worse. Each member needs to make a conscious decision to be a part of the family, and that means to do their part, being considerate of everyone else in the family.
2. They build strong social ties.
Families are teams and need to stick together, sure, but they also need to build strong social ties. Don’t just wave at your neighbors as you go by – stop and have a conversation! Attend church or community organizations together and make friends from the same central location. Know each other’s friends – at least their names and defining characteristics, so you not only know who your family is spending time with, but can ask questions that go deeper than, “Did you have a good time?”
3. They stick together through the good and the bad.
You can’t ditch your family just because the going gets tough. You might think your parents are getting too intrusive and want to hole up in your room, or your kid might be getting on your last nerve, but you have to stick together and work it out. You can’t call yourself a family only when things are good.
4. They are allowed to be true to themselves.
Just because you’re all a part of the same family doesn’t mean you all have to be the same person. If your oldest child is into soccer, don’t force your youngest to play too, especially if they seem more into art. While doing things together, like going on hikes or vacations, is always beneficial, don’t force anyone to have an interest they don’t feel naturally, just because the rest of the family does.
5. They make quality time for each other.
Speaking of going on hikes and vacations together, spending quality time together as a family is crucial for happiness. You can’t feel happy as a family if you’re never together! Quality time doesn’t have to mean that you’re out spending money at a game or museum. Quality time can be as simple as having dinner together once a week, or cleaning the house together every Saturday.
6. They go out of their way for each other.
You’ve seen the movies where the bigger brother sticks up for his sibling who’s being bullied. It’s heartwarming, right? That’s how families are! They stick up for each other. They go out of their way for each other. You have to love each other every day (regardless of how unlovable some members may seem at times) and sacrifice your own feelings for the good of others.
7. They take responsibility for their own happiness.
You can’t depend on anyone else to make you happy. This goes for friends, partners, and family. You have to be able to find happiness in yourself before you can bring anything to the family. Depending on others just means you’re putting unreasonable demands on them, and potentially damaging their own happiness. If every member of the family focuses on keeping themselves happy, then that’s all they’re bringing to the table – happiness! Think of how enjoyable family dinners can be when no one is moping and everyone is smiling.
8. They keep promises.
You can’t depend on anyone if you can’t depend on family. If you’ve promised to sit front row center at your child’s holiday performance, you better be there. If you promised your parents that you’d improve your grades, you better study hard! Keep your promises to family so they’ll know you’re reliable. On the flip side, also make sure that you’re making promises you can keep. Don’t get in over your head and find yourself floundering to prove yourself to a family member.
9. They are patient.
Don’t expect everything all at once. Change takes time, and family members should understand this and be patient. It might take time for your child to realize he needs to fold and put away his laundry. It might take a few reminders before everyone picks their damp towels up from the bathroom floor. Losing your cool and yelling never helps; be patient and kind and you family will want to change to help out you – and the family as a whole!
10. They forgive.
You might have to grovel to get your friends or partners to forgive you when you slip up, but families don’t hold grudges. These are the people who are with you day in and day out. They know you better than anyone, and they know you’re human. Everyone makes mistakes, so family, who truly loves you, is going to understand a slip up and forgive you and keep loving you.
11. They use caring words to communicate.
Families don’t use harsh words to cut each other down. They don’t fuss or nag to get their points across. They use caring words to communicate. This fosters an environment of love and support in the home, so everyone knows that they can speak their mind and be heard without starting a fight, as well as being able to take anything spoken at face value, not as a hidden critique.
12. They share their emotions.
It’s natural to want your own space in your home, but don’t close yourself off too much. Happy families share their emotions. This will help create a happy home because each family member will know how the others are feeling. If there is good news to be celebrated, it will be shared. If there’s a problem that can’t be overcome by one person alone, that can also be shared. Your family is your best support system – take advantage of that, and be there for them.
13. They are each other’s biggest cheerleaders.
Families support each other. They rally behind the others when they have a tough test or major presentation. They help build each other up when confidence is needed, and keep each other from falling too far if something doesn’t go as planned.
14. They all pitch in.
There’s more to family life than a chore chart – though that can be important, too! Family members need to pitch in regarding all aspects of life. If everyone has assigned chores around the house, one member won’t feel like all the demands fall on their shoulders. Pitching in can also include anything from being available for emotional support to helping find car keys on a busy morning.
15. They practice gratitude.
When your family members pitch in, remember to show some gratitude! Just because you’re all related and live together doesn’t mean you can take each other for granted. Always let your family know how much you appreciate them and love them.
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