I live in a small lake town in Alabama. Everybody pretty much knows everybody here. I worked at the (yep, I said the) local high school for several years. One day, one of my coworkers said to me, “Why is it that every time I see one person in your family, I see all four of you?” I thought about it for a minute and then I said, “Because we like each other!” Not only was that the first response I came up with, but it was also the truth. Heck, as I write this blog post I can look across the room and see the rest of my family members sitting in the same room. Our closeness is real! But it’s not by mistake. We are constantly working to improve family relationships so that we can maintain a bond.
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Why you should improve family relationships?
So, what’s the key to our closeness? For starters, I grew up being really close to my parents and I knew that I wanted the same thing for my own family. As the kids were growing up, it was really important to me to foster the kind of relationship that they would love and want to replicate for their own families.
Children feel secure when they have strong family relationships. A sense of security is vital for a child to learn, grow, and develop into a healthy adult. For this reason, families should strive to build positive family relationships complete with quality time, great communication, and appreciation.
Family relationships have an impact on our wellbeing, whether positive or negative. This article in Science Direct goes into detail about the connection between family relationships and health.
Benefits of maintaining closeness in your family
Let me pause to say that it is OK not to be close with family. Just because you don’t have a close relationship with your family doesn’t mean that you don’t love them or that it’s necessarily a bad relationship. I will say, though, that there are several benefits of maintaining closeness in your family. In addition to an unbreakable bond with the people that you love the most, there are several other benefits of having a close family.
Highland Springs Speciality Clinic lists several benefits of spending time with family. Two that resonated with me most were increased self-confidence and improved conflict resolution skills.
So, if you’re not already close with your family, what can you do to improve family relationships?
How to improve family relationships
1. Communicate often and openly.
We have always let our children have a voice, to an extent. We allow them to freely express themselves, and we listen to them. In fact, we encourage them to effectively articulate their argument, even if we ultimately disagree with them (which we often do). It’s important for us to foster their ability to communicate, especially now that they are older. Communication is essential for any relationship, but it’s really important for parents and children.
2. Have Fun Together.
I think that this is the thing that I love most about my family. We have SO much fun together. If you were to peep into our window, you’d often find us laughing uncontrollably about something. We sing and dance together, we watch TV, listen to music, cook, play games, and talk for hours about current events. We are very close to solving all of the world’s problems! I’m serious. Just wait!
As hard as it is to believe, we mess up. (I’m kidding! We mess up a bunch.) But, one thing’s for sure–we forgive each other and we move on with life. Nobody is perfect. We remind each other of that often. Now, I’m not going to pretend that we don’t get (really) upset with each other at times. We do. But, we always forgive each other and we make it a point not to dwell on the mess-ups. Instead, we focus on how to be better.
4. Slow down.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give the pandemic credit for helping us out with this one. We’ve always had what we call one “Closed for Business” day a month. Sometimes, we get lucky enough to have two. Thanks to the nationwide shutdown, we have now broken our world record for consecutive Closed for Business days! Our Closed for Business days include staying in our pajamas all day, not letting anyone in (or out) of our home. We look forward to those days. Even my mom had gotten used to our Closed for Business days. She would jokingly ask me when our Closed for Business days were so that she could make sure she called and/or visited before that day because she knew how serious we were about it.
5. Share responsibilities.
At our house, everyone has designated chores. But, I’m not sure why. Because at any given moment you can find my husband doing my chores or my son doing my daughter’s chores. Honestly, you’ll probably find us all in one room cleaning together so that we can hurry and get finished so that we can get back to having fun. So, even though we have defined roles in the house, the line is super blurry because we all chip in wherever needed to get the job done. Plus, that gives us more time to hang out together, which we really enjoy doing.
6. Support Each Others’ Ventures.
We make it a priority to support each other. Whether it’s cheerleading, volleyball, basketball, scholar’s bowl, a new job, a blog launch, a musical, an open house (you get my drift?), we are always there for each other. We cheer each other on, we encourage each other to do our best, and we give constructive criticism when needed. We know without a doubt that if nobody else is there for us, we are there for each other. Always.
We have worked hard to establish and maintain a closeness within our family. This is something that we are very proud of and that we work hard to make sure that we never lose. Family is everything.