A Parental Guide To Happy Families
In his famous novel Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The truth of this statement is striking. When relationships between parents and children are strained, this could be due to any number of different reasons, such as bad treatment or neglect on the parent or parents’ behalf, or perhaps difficult behaviour exhibited by rebellious children. Meanwhile, families that feature positive parent-child bonds tend to all follow a similar pattern of trust, affection and support. So the question is, what does it take to create and maintain a happy family?
When it comes to familial happiness, there’s no doubt that parenting style has a great influence on how secure, comfortable and loved children feel. Every mother and father is different, and a parent’s personality and their own individual happiness will undoubtedly show through the way in which they care for their child. However, even though parenting styles can vary, there are some important principles to keep in mind when it comes to ensuring that your partner and your child or children are happy. Keep reading to find out practical, proactive ways in which you can work to cultivate healthy familial relationships.
Communication Is The Key
It might sound obvious, but loving and trusting relationships are predominantly based on open, frequent communication. Every member of the family should feel that they are able to vocalise their thoughts and feelings in a healthy, supportive environment. Parents should instil good communication habits in their children as they grow up, by teaching them of the importance of both speaking and listening. Honesty should always be encouraged, and parents should ensure that their children are able to express negative as well as positive emotions, as long as they do so in a manner that is safe for everyone.
Communication doesn’t always need to take place through words, either. Being physically affectionate through hugs and kisses is a warm and caring way to express your love for your partner and/or children.
Work As A Team
Families, big or small, should always function as a tight-knit support system. Whether it’s a sporting event, the household chores, or an academic accomplishment, parents and children alike should come together to celebrate or share the load. Participating in these kinds of events together will foster strong bonds and create meaningful experiences for all family members involved. As children grow older, parents should also encourage them to speak up and provide input in any decision-making discussions that might affect the entire family – for example, the destination for the next family holiday.
A sense of togetherness is always the marker of a happy family. Parents should always endeavour to emphasize to their children their equal importance within the family dynamic.
Create Quality Time
In the modern day and age, it’s becoming common for busy work and school schedules to seriously compromise how much time families spend together. However, making time for family bonding should always be a priority for parents and children. Your family tradition should be fun, interesting and inclusive of everyone – it could be having a cooked breakfast together every morning, heading to the park for a friendly game of sports, or enjoying a card game or board game together in the evening. However you like to spend time together as a family, being in each other’s actual presence is the only way for your relationships to flourish. Family meetings can also be a great way to catch up regularly to talk about any important issues that need to be sorted, or any upcoming events that need to be planned.
Even the happiest of families have disputes every now and then. Siblings tend to get into fights and squabble, parents can disagree on certain matters, and parent-child relationships may sometimes be challenging for a number of reasons. It’s important for parents to set an example when it comes to conflicts in the household, and to show their children ways in which to express their anger, sadness or disappointment in a constructive, non-violent manner. Children should not feel scared or intimidated to voice their problems to the rest of the family, and all family members should be able to openly discuss any issues they may be experiencing. Parents and children alike should respect each other’s feelings, and make every effort to be open-minded, flexible and supportive when it comes to easing another family member’s pain or suffering.
Children, especially younger children, thrive when they have routines structuring their lives. This isn’t to say that every second of every day needs to be planned down to the last detail, but it does help to have overarching family traditions and roles that can help to instil good habits in children and prompt them to feel more comfortable and confident. Stability in the family home might take on different forms, depending on the specific family. Certain families might cook dinner together, with the kids tagging along for the supermarket run and pitching in to set the table; some might be religious or spiritual, and visit a religious institution together each week; others yet may have regular catch up and/or play sessions at a family friend’s house.
Having an unstable home can be damaging to a child’s health and happiness. Experiencing constant change is often bewildering and uncomfortable for children, so parents should try to create and maintain certain rituals or events that can act as a source of engagement, enjoyment or comfort in their child’s life.
The Final Word: Happy, Healthy Families
Unfortunately, there’s no magical parenting handbook that will guarantee that your children grow up to be happy and healthy. The advice outlined in this post, however, will hopefully set you on the right track. If you work hard to form loving and trusting bonds between you, your partner and/or your children, you’ll be well on the way to ensuring your family’s long-term happiness.