In life, there are few things more critical to personal growth than family. There have been countless studies that show staying connected as a family will greatly increase the success and overall heath of children. The same can be said for those who are not intentional. For families affected by trauma, neglect or other environmental situations, this can lead to having a negative impact on the overall health of the family.
If you are struggling to stay connected as a family or are just looking for ways to grow, here are a few places to start.
Say you’re sorry – There are many reasons families grow apart. When it comes to re-connecting with your family, it’s important to recognize any fault of your own. This can be a humbling thing to do. Apologizing to your family for words spoken, or actions taken can be one of the most difficult things you will do as a family, but it can also be one of the most healing acts. Learning to be transparent and vulnerable with your family will allow for trust to be built and growth to occur.
Be intentional – Engaging with your family will require effort and intentionality. As any family will attest, it takes work to keep a family together. From navigating blended families, to helping support your children or navigating a family’s schedule, being intentional will help your family connect and stay connected.
Learn their interests – Every family member has their unique interests. Learning what your family members enjoy doing will help you connect with them. Be it a sport, show or other hobby, try to stay up to date on these interests with them.
Re-engage with your family – One reason that families grow apart is time. Sometimes, as people experience life, people can change. When families don’t stay engaged in each other’s lives, life can leave family members feeling distant and disillusioned. Taking time to re-engage with your family will help bridge the gap that can come with time.
Support your family – Let’s face it, we are all too busy. And most families are only getting busier. This means it will take effort to support the diverse interests within your family. Learning to support your family will create a special bond, a bond that stems from placing your family first. As families learn to support each other, the byproduct is a renewed sense of comradery.
People are looking for an authentic family. In an age of instant outcomes, the enduring relationships that exist within family help keep people grounded, perhaps now more than ever. When you try to fully engage with your family’s life, you create a place for growth. No family is perfect, but families that are intentional can be one of the best support systems in our life.