- Schedule in family time. When you have teens, you will need to take a look at everyone’s schedule. We try to get together with our weekly schedules every Sunday night here in the Witmer household. But when I schedule something big for all of us to do, like a day trip, I do it one month in advance and put it on the calendar that hangs on the refrigerator.
- Eat meals together as much as possible. Studies have shown that eating meals together helps with reinforce communication. If you unable to get together as a family for dinner because of busy schedules, try breakfast.
- Do family responsibilities together. Make cleaning your home a responsibility of the whole family. Create a list of chores and have everyone sign up. Set a weekly time to either have the chores completed or do the chores. This gives your teen some flexibility for his/her own schedule.
- Create a family mission statement. Place it in a predominant place in your home. Read it and talk about it often. Learn how to create a family mission statement.
- Have family meetings. These can be scheduled events or you can make them impromptu, where any member of the family can call a meeting if they feel the need. Start each of these meetings by reading your family mission statement.
- Encourage support for each other. Share when something goes well at work. Ask your teen how his/her test went. Commiserate when your teen’s team loses a game. Celebrate good grades and reward good behavior by doing something special together.
- Take time out for yourself. Parenting is a huge responsibility that you are required to fulfill every day. Even the Department of Labor requires companies to give two 10-minute breaks during a work day. Shouldn’t you do the same? The reality is that you will be a better parent when you take some time for just you.
- Volunteer together. Giving your time to make someone else’s life better is always a powerful learning experience. Learning important life lessons together will strengthen the relationship you have with your children. (See: How to Promote a Positive Volunteer Experience)
- Become involved in your teen’s interests. You don’t have to be the coach, but you can help out with a fundraiser or by being in charge of snacks for the bus on away game night. Ask where you can help, it will show your teen you care about what he/she is interested in.
- Join something with other families. Whether this is within your community or your church, being with other families will strengthen your own family bonds.
Strengthen Your Family’s Bonds with These Ten Tips
Happy families have strong family bonds. Parents, as the leaders of the family unit, have to be responsible for strengthening and protecting these bonds. It doesn't happen naturally in our hectic day-to-day lives. You can create this firm foundation by committing to these ten essential practices that will strengthen your family’s relationships.