Family life can seem disconnected these days. Schedules are tight, job and economic pressures stretch many of us, while the kids go one way and the adults go another. When we are together our attention is often pulled toward screens and electronic devices and away from our family members. If we’re not careful, we start to feel fractured as a family. If we could just stop by the closest hospital emergency room and get a cast to hold us all together, it would seem so simple.
Do not despair! You can create a family environment that is nurturing, loving, and helps you stay connected if you apply a few strategies, even with all of the stresses of the day. This column will bring you ideas to strengthen the bonds that hold your family together and can be applied to all sorts of families: families led by one parent, two parents, or a grandparent, mixed families, multiple household families, families who are just starting out, or even established families who already have a strong connection.
Here’s the foundation; it is built on the CARE concept. Take in the basics this month then come back next month for more.
C = Communication
A = Affection
R = Resilience
E = Enjoy Positive Experiences
Communication: Communication is the basis for all good relationships. Even when family life is hectic and you feel frazzled, keep talking and sharing your experiences with each other. Talk In real time and space when you can; otherwise use a variety of modalities to stay in touch: telephone calls, notes in lunch boxes or suitcases, text messages, e-mail, and social networking sites.
Affection: Make it a habit to share both physical and verbal affection, daily. Hugs and other forms of affection are important for health and for the healthy development of children. Don’t scrimp; share your love even when you are exhausted.
Resilience: Flexibility and adaptability are strengths we all need. Practice them as a family. Forgive the mistakes your family members make and start over as often as you need to with projects or chore lists. Do not hold unrealistic expectations for each other; we are all a work in progress.
Enjoy Positive Experiences: We have many responsibilities; sometimes we forget to savor the positives. Enjoy each other: laugh, play, and goof around together. Share positive experiences, and build a stronger bond between the entire family. Remember to have fun together!
Each month I’ll bring you new ideas on how to be the CARE-ing family you want to be. You will learn how to strengthen your bonds and become the strong and nurturing family you long to be.
Amy Sluss, RN is a family-life specialist, an author and an acclaimed mother-daughter speaker from Pleasanton, CA. Visit her website www.fab2bfem.com or contact Amy directly at 925-858-0702 to arrange a Growing up Female workshop for your daughter.