Making your family better, stronger, more harmonious may not require a complete overhaul, but rather a few strategic tweaks. Here’s a roundup of the resolutions you and your family should make now to ensure a fabulous 2019!
1. Hold family meetings.
Give everyone in the family—including the kids—an opportunity to be heard. Provide the space for feuding family members to voice their feelings in a setting that models respectful communication and conflict resolution. Brainstorm beefs. Strategize solutions to stumbling blocks. You’ll get greater cooperation when decisions are made mutually.
2. Say no to sarcasm.
Scorn is just anger thinly disguised with a sneer. So, cut the contempt. If you’re mad, be mad. Communicating your feelings honestly and openly makes room for problem solving. Sarcasm complicates true communication and squeezes out solutions.
3. Laugh. A lot.
Laughter fills up the family’s good-will tank, making your family more resilient in tough times. It also paves the way for positive parenting. What was it Mary Poppins said? “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Well, corrections are more easily digested when coated in honey. So, lighten up a little.
4. Focus on quality, not quantity.
If I told you to spend more time together as a family, you’d probably retort that with, “There’s just no time.” I get it. Life is busy. But, building those vital bonds of belonging—whether with your kids or your spouse—is accomplished in moments, not hours. However, you’ve got to make those moments count. Be mindful. Put away your smart phone, and be fully present and engaged for a short while.
5. Don’t forget date nights.
In our efforts to put “family first,” we inadvertently put our marriages last. That’s a problem. Our partnership is of primary importance—parents are the bedrock of family life, the executives heading the corporation. So, you two need to stay tight. And in order to stay connected as loving partners, you need to put in the time away from the kids. And, on that note…
6. Practice some self-care.
You can’t be a good parent, or a good partner, if your tank is empty. We don’t fully appreciate how depleted we can get—and how drastically that can affect our interactions with others in our family. We start to sweat the small stuff, harbour resentment, become bitter when we’ve denied our own needs. There’s nothing that a good yoga class or night out with friends can’t fix. So, re-fuel frequently, and you’ll get more mileage as a parent.