A family is the basic unit of any society. Establishing a happy family remains a goal for most people, mine included. It’s a long journey with ups and downs. Despite the differing opinions on who or what consists of a family in today’s society, it doesn’t erode the fact we’re all products of a family. A man and woman come together to make a baby. Movies romanticize the concept of family and this partially explains why disillusionment and divorce rates keep rising. Individuals, young or old, seeking to start families must be willing to deal with the challenges of family. There’s no way out of it. Don’t be alarmed.
Better ways exist in coping with the limits of families. Building successful, functional, and fulfilling families is not rocket science. I would say, it’s an art of compromise and undying optimism. If you want to build a family of superficiality, then go watch movies but things are a little different in reality. Defining families, even for experts, is problematic. For people aiming to establish happy families, here are a few tips to help you build a happy family.
1.Have Dinner Together
A family that eats together, stays together, and establishes a happy family. A recent research study showed children who shared meals with their families are less likely to smoke, get early pregnancy, abuse drugs, or develop eating disorders. Further research showed these children have a rich vocabulary, better manners, and healthier habits and diets. Still in doubt? Scientific research done by the University of Michigan from 1981 to 1997 found that American children who spent significant time eating at home were the single best indicator of achievement levels and behavioural issues. Interestingly, meal times were found more impactful than time spent studying or playing.
I know the demands of current economic conditions are unforgiving. The good news is sharing dinner doesn’t have to be daily. Of course, the more the better to build happy families, but research indicates that even sharing one dinner per week makes a significant difference.
What’s there to prevent you from sharing one dinner with your family?
2. A shared family history
The power of a story is immense. During shared family times, let your children know of the heritage that runs in the family. For instance, in our family, we have this tradition of naming all our children after a philosopher. Well, sounds funny but that heritage sent most of us on a path of serious academic research and achievement. One of my cousins is named Plato and believe me, my grandpa never lets him sit at the dinner table without telling us something unique about the Greek philosopher.
According to my father, the tradition stems from our forefathers. It’s part of our heritage long before America became our home. The shared history is so serious to an extent some of our family members permanently relocated to Greece. Crazy!
Tell children of the ups and downs the family faced. The calamity that brought you all together and instill a fighting spirit in them. Show pictures of some of your family members who fought in the world wars, or the Vietnam War. These are the positive stories children want to associate with.
3. Reduce Emotional Turmoil and Stress
It’s a tough ask considering no one chooses to be stressed. We all find ourselves stretched beyond our capacity but for a harmonious family; be conscious of how you perceive and react to stressing factors. What do you think kids wish most for their parents? Guess. In a study, children wished their parents were less tired and stressed. Interesting. On the other hand, parents guessed children wished to have more personal space. Can you see the mismatch? Stress weakens children’s immunity, exposes them to disorders and makes them vulnerable to obesity. So, be happy with whatever you’re doing as a parent since the children can see. Be a happy parent and establish a happy family. It counts.
4. Make decisions together
My family was required to move from one state to another following mum’s promotion. Life in a new state means making new acquisitions, changing schools, new neighbors, and coping with so much unfamiliarity. Human beings, by nature, love their comfort zones. Take a moment and think how long it took you to rid yourself of a toxic habit. Our parents took us a dinner at the restaurant and explained to us the need to move. Mum, bless her heart, promised to abide by what we feel best serves our interests. We moved that summer after taking a collective decision. Involving us made a ton of difference. My brother and I felt loved and valued.
Research shows children who grow up in an open and consultative environment freely express themselves and are more confident. This translates to a happier family. So, don’t deny them such a privilege.
Lastly, learn to make everyone feel better about their abilities for a happy family. Help children set and work towards their weekly, monthly and annual goals. Be it in sports, academics, or internally, be part of the process and offer unconditional support. Studies say empowering nurtures self-discipline, decision-making, and an ability to balance risks among children.
More Practical Secrets to Building a Happy Family
Laying the foundation for a happy family takes hard work, dedication, and commitment. But with these key strategies, you can create an environment where everyone feels empowered and valued:
6. Swap stories
Laughter is one of the key ingredients in building a happy family. One way to promote more laughter and connection is by swapping stories with each other, both funny and poignant ones. Share your experiences from childhood, your first job, or any other fond memory that made you laugh or cry. Not only will this help foster a sense of intimacy, but it can liven up even the dullest of family gatherings and encourage everyone to open up.
7. Prioritize togetherness
Another key element of building a happy family is prioritizing time together, whether it’s eating dinner as a family every night or taking regular outings as a group. This can take many forms–from going on weekend camping trips. Linking family time to positive emotions and shared experiences will help lay the foundation for a happy, lasting family bond.
8. Put Family First
When other priorities may seem more pressing, always make time for family members. This can mean carving out time to spend as a family each day or week, even if it’s just half an hour of quality time spent playing games or reading books together. At the same time, make sure that you are prioritizing strengthening the foundation for a happy family. It takes hard work, dedication, and commitment.
9. Establish healthy routines
One of the best ways to create a sense of stability and happiness within your family is by establishing healthy routines around eating, sleeping, attending social events, and celebrating different family occasions together. For instance, set a trend on how family members celebrate birthdays, Christmas, and anniversaries. Such routines become integral part of a family’s identity and heritage.
10. Encourage open communication and expression
Creating a truly happy family requires one to encourage open communication and expression at all times. Whether this means encouraging children to express their feelings or actively listening when someone else is saying. Listening is caring. Open communication builds trust and intimacy, which are key ingredients for a happy family bond.
11. Connect generations
inking generations is also an important part of building a happy family. As children grow up, involve them in activities like babysitting or helping out with household chores. This will help them develop a sense of responsibility and make them feel more connected to the family as they mature. Similarly, grandparents can play a vital role in creating a happy family by sharing stories about the family lineage. Show the younger generation the exploits, both good and bad, of those who came before them. Let them belong.
12. Foster independence
To build a truly happy family, it’s essential to encourage children to become independent and self-sufficient rather than depending on others all the time. This might involve teaching them how to take care of themselves and make decisions on their own, as well as encouraging them to explore new activities and interests outside the home. By developing these skills, children will be able to thrive, push themselves to the limit and inculcate desirable values such as accountability. Freedom comes with a cost. Allow your family members to shoulder the consequences of their (in)actions. True independence has its limits.
13. Use sports for good
Another way to build a happy family is by encouraging children and adults to participate in sports. Sports are a great way for families to bond, as they allow people of all ages and abilities to work together toward a common goal. Whether it’s playing organized team sports or simply going on regular walks or bike rides together, sports can be an excellent way to foster healthy relationships and promote happiness within the family. So find an activity that everyone can enjoy, and remember to make time for physical activity as a family!
14. Fairness, not Righteousness
It’s important to always strive for fairness rather than rightness. This means showing empathy, giving people the benefit of the doubt, and treating everyone with kindness and respect. It also means taking steps to avoid judgmental or hurtful behaviors such as gossiping, blaming others, or engaging in power struggles. By focusing on fairness rather than rightness, you can help to create a loving and supportive environment within your family that promotes happiness and well-being for all.
15. Separate Work from Family
At work, we are often judged on our performance and productivity; at home, we should focus instead on listening and supporting each other. This means prioritizing your relationships with family members over any other obligations or responsibilities that may come up. It may also mean letting go of any career goals or aspirations that are keeping you from spending quality time with your loved ones. Don’t be tempted by the idea of ‘a few more minutes’ since sooner rather than later, it becomes untenable.
16. Cope with In-laws
In-laws can be a major source of stress and frustration for many families. Communicating with your in-laws and managing any challenges or disagreements you may encounter can be a delicate balancing act. This might mean having difficult conversations about boundaries, setting clear expectations about the role in-laws play within the family, or simply learning to accept the differences between your family and their family. Remember that all families are different, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to building a happy family with in-laws. Instead, it’s important to be flexible, open-minded, and compassionate in your interactions with in-laws.
17. Positive Parenting
Adopt positive parenting strategies such as modeling good behavior, encouraging cooperation and compromise, and praising children for their accomplishments rather than criticizing them for their failures. Positive parenting can also involve setting boundaries and enforcing rules in a calm and respectful way, while also balancing discipline with fun and playtime with your family members.
Tips to Positive Parenting
1. Talk openly and honestly with your children about their feelings and concerns.
2. Foster a supportive and nurturing environment at home where children feel loved, accepted, and supported.
3. Set clear boundaries and enforce consequences when necessary to help guide your children’s behavior in positive ways.
4. Build strong relationships with your partner or spouse to create a united front when it comes to parenting your children.
5. Seek out support and advice from other parents, family members, or mental health professionals as needed to help you navigate the challenges of positive parenting.
6. Take steps to reduce stress in your life so that you can better cope with any challenges or setbacks that may arise. This may include practicing mindfulness or relaxation techniques, seeking out therapy or counseling if needed, or simply making time for self-care and rest.
7. Remember that positive parenting takes time and patience, but it is well worth the effort in the long run to build a happy and healthy family!
Love is the greatest of them all
Love and fight for your family’s interests like a wounded buffalo. Let the relationship between two partners serve as a landmark for the children. Treat each other kindly, belong to the larger community, and support one another. Happy families take real work to build. Go forth!