Why some families seem so happy
Five steps to a happy family
Tip 1. Put people first
The best advice for a happy, functioning family is to make sure you are putting people first. Sometimes we get so caught up in the day to day of life that we forget the simple truth that we should consider people first and things second.
For example, it's great to have a clean house, or clean clothes. But ultimately what is more important? Make sure we make time to play with our children or enjoy each other's company. It's OK to take a break from the washing, in order to play with a child. When we are old we want to be able to treasure the time we spent with each other, not reflect on how clean our homes were!
If a family member accidentally damages an object, try not to get too upset. A culture of blame will do more to harm your child. Afterall, an object can usually be replaced, but our children cannot.
Also, think about your routines in your daily life. Sometimes we are so focussed on achieveing that we forget to enjoy. We become time pressed, trying to get the children ready for school, or to go to work. Try not to get too upset or angry about being a few minutes late. Think about the atmosphere we create when we are stressed over little things all the time.
Tip 2. Find activities to do together
People bond best when they do an activity together or they have a goal to achieve. Think about the times when you were happy in your childhood. The chances are that you are remembering a particular activity or project that you completed. It might be playing in the garden, or baking a cake.
Think about the different things you might want to do with your children. Perhaps dad might take the kids to the park on the weekend. There may be a book you can read together or a craft project to complete. Find something, other than watching television, that members of the family can do together.
Doing a project together not only helps different family members bond. It provides a boost to self confidence, can stimulate learning and also gives you something to talk about.
Tip 3. Practice anger management techniques.
If you find yourself always arguing then do something about it. If there is constant yelling, then try to calm things down.
There are strategies that can be used to help manage our anger responses. When you feel anger brewing remove yourself from the situation. If you can't get away from the problem, then try to calm yourself another way, such as by using breathing exercises.
Look at your routines to see if you can change them to alter any triggers that may cause you or family members to become frustrated.
Be prepared to let the little things go. Sometimes children are just letting of steam when they grumble. If you let them whinge to themselves, often they will still do that job you asked them to do. If you tell them off for grumbling about having to put the bins out, you can end up escalating the whinge into a full blown shouting match.
Of course there will be times when you and other family members disagree. Just remember, that often the best way to calm people is to let them have their say. If a family member is angry they will often be too emotional to listen to you. Wait until they have calmed down to discuss matters with them.
Help children to learn self-discipline. Teach them their own strategies to calm themselves down.
Tip 4. Appreciate the little things in life.
Help to teach your children to appreciate the little things in life. Adding something beautiful to your day may be easier than you think. Take the time to point out things, particularly in nature, that you think may be interesting or beautiful to each other.
Soon enough you will find this will become a habit. It may be a beautiful sunset, or the sound of the wind, it might be a some blossoms on a tree, or some artwork in the street.
Try to incorporate using beautiful things in your routines. For example, you might want to light candles at dinner time, or regularly pick fresh flowers for the bedrooms.
Tip 5. Don't compare each other
Don't compare different family members to each other. The one sure way to create dissention is to compare siblings to each other. Avoid comparisons. For example, do not say things such as "I taught your sister to do this, so you should be able to do it?" or "Your brother is always so polite, try to be more like him."
Sometimes we find ourselves making these statements in innocence. However, they can have a long lasting effect on children. In his book 'What do you really want for your children?' psychologist Wayne Dyer says that comparisons encourage sibling rivalary and anxiety in children.
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