Building Stronger Families
Many writers have addressed the pressures on the family. There are many theories and ideas about how the pressures came to be. Issues such as divorce, infidelity, drug abuse, child abuse, government programs, and the judicial system have all impacted the family. The question arises, “How can parents build stronger families and extract themselves from the quagmire that often surrounds them?”
Families are strengthened by joining other families in developing a sense of community. This joining with other families or “networking” begins to create a stronger safety net for the many dangers that families often face. The sense of community can be within the context of a church family, neighborhood association, YMCA, or community minded group. In former times the extended family often helped with this function, but for many, that option is not often available. It is important to connect with a community that shares the same values and vision for children as you do. There are times that a single family is often ignored, but when a community speaks on an issue, they are rarely ignored. If families want to see changes in things such as curfews, ordinances or policies, having a strong united community voice helps form the policies that decision-makes listen to.
Another place to start strengthening your family is creating a family-friendly culture within your home. This includes making time for family activities and allowing your children to help out with projects. A question to consider is that “if a stranger walked into your home, would that stranger see evidence that you placed a high value on family?” Besides time and activities within the home, there are other ways to build culture within the home. Items such as television shows, music and clothing all contribute to creating the culture within the home. Do the items that create the home culture carry a family-orientation? Are the pictures and items on the wall related to family, or family times? Do the trophies displayed send a message that family is important or does it tell the world that some commercial brand of beer is “queen” of your world?
Music is another area that can strengthen or weaken families. Developing common interests or appreciation in music allows for greater bonding. With the many varied musical tastes and styles, families are strengthened by sharing common interests. It is doubtful that everyone “loves” the music of other family members. Be willing to listen to it with them and share your music with them. As people, we often join with those that we see are like us. This also includes musical tastes. A person feels more attracted to and connected with someone who shares their tastes in music. Try to find some common likes among your family. Strive to find some common ground found. All too often the members of families are so out of touch with each other; they do not even know the names of the performers or bands that each member of the family enjoys.
Try developing some family games or activities. Common activities such as camping, hunting, bicycling, or attending events are ways to enjoy times together. Consider playing some games together as a family. Selections such as board games, cards or dominoes may open doors for increased family times and an appreciation of each other. When considering games, try including each family member. Each of these items takes time, yet develops a stronger family life as a result.
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