Think you’ve got an awesome family? Since my first article was published in the Huffington Post a few days ago, I have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of Modern Parents through email, Facebook, and Twitter and what I have come to realize is that the readers of this blog are really, really good parents who never stop trying to help their families become happier, healthier, and closer.
Sound like you?
Many of you have told me over the past couple of days that you love your families to the moon and back, but there are still one or two little “tweaks” you would like to make to your family that might:
- Give you more time with each other
- Create a closer family bond
- Create a calmer home life for everyone
- Put more fun back into your family life
- Create an environment with less arguing.
I think any family can go from good to great with a little attention and hard work. Here are some simple ways you can do to help nudge your family from the “good” barometer mark to the “great” one.
1. Don’t parent aimlessly – parent with a purpose. Take the time to figure out your personal passions, values, and beliefs so that all your future parenting decisions are guided by the morals and standards that are important to you.
2. Identify your family’s current strengths and weaknesses. Do you find that your family’s strengths strongly align with your personal passions, values and beliefs while your family’s weaknesses don’t?
3. Identify the family weakness that you most want to change. Next, see how you can make the weakness a strength by making this behavior better align with your passions, values, and beliefs. For example, if one of your values is that family members should interact with each other tech-free everyday, yet you haven’t had a conversation with your teen where the’ve looked you in the eye for weeks, then it’s time to change this family behavior.
You will be happier with your family and with your life if you make parenting decisions based upon your passions, values, and beliefs.
4. Communicate this change to your family routine in a “we’re all in this” kind of way. For example, if you have chosen to change the family’s overuse of electronic devices, then that means YOU need to observe tech-free time with your kids and/or spouse/partner. Both model this new family behavior to your kids and set realistic consequences if your kids do not follow the new guidelines.
Changing anyone’s behavior – whether it is your own behavior or that of your kids – always takes time, so give this new change to your family the time it needs to take effect. In addition, be prepared to be consistent in enforcing this new behavior with your family members. Follow through consistently with the consequences if your kids break the new rule.
Also, be prepared for setbacks – or a little backtracking – just when you thought this new behavior was starting to become permanent in your family. This is normal and doesn’t mean that implementing this new standard was a failure and you should give up. Just keep being consistent in insisting that he family follow the new family rule and your family’s behavior should go back to observing the new family behavior.
5. Once this family behavior has changed from a weakness to a strength, start all over again with a new behavior that you want to “tweak”. After you have given the previous new family behavior some time (I suggest several months) to really sink in, introduce the next new family behavior you want to change to your kids and spouse/partner.
Sometimes by taking some focused time to put some effort into changing some family bad habits that have slowly become bothersome and annoying is all it takes to make your enjoyment of your family go from good to great. Good Modern I find that really good Modern Parents are constantly finding ways to improve their family – which serves to create a family environment where all the family members find happiness.