You hear a lot of talk about creating a great family culture these days. So much, in fact, that "family culture" seems to be either a political tool from the right or a hang-on from the great washout known as the '60s.
In reality, having a great family culture is an important factor in helping the members of your family stay strong and able to resist outside influences. It's about realizing that you are all on the same path, working towards the same goals, albeit in different ways.
Here are 7 tips you can use to help your family understand and appreciate the things that make your family special:
1. Spend time together doing fun things. It's easy to get lost in day to day tasks of running a household. Spending time together haing fun allows you to step out of the taskmaster role and see your children in a different light.
Choose activities that not only entertain, but that offer an opportunity to work together, or to be challenged. You may be surprised by the strengths that are revealed.
2. Know what you stand for. Be clear about what is okay and not okay for your family. Even more importantly, make sure you spend time "talking the walk and walking the talk." Every member of your family should know what values are important to their family. Furthermore,these should be values that are lived by all members of the family - including you.
3. Know where you're going to. An important part of growing as a family is having a set of goals that everyone is working towards. This can be range from knowing how cook for the family, to making sure to give back to the community.
4. Be respectful to other family members. It's not uncommon to see family members speak respectfully to the next door neighbor, and then turn around and deride another family member. Make sure every family member learns how to speak and act respectfully towards each other.Establish a "zero tolerance" rule for physical or verbal abuse.
5. Hang up your family's rules. Whether you sit together and decide the rules together as a family, or whether you as the parent (s) decide and then present them to your children, actually hanging up the rules makes a tremendous difference.
Not only are they a reminder of what is important to the family, but it's a lot harder to argue "I didn't know" when it's right there up on the wall.
6. Be an agent of change. Instead of blaming others for their lousy behavior, look and see what you can do to change the situation. Accept that you cannot change someone else's behavior. You can try to influence, persuade, or pressure, but ultimately you can only change your behavior.
So the next time you have a problem with someone in your family (or anyone for that matter), ask yourself, "What can I do to improve the situation?"
None of these 6 tips are a quick fix: they take time, effort, and a willingness to carry things through until the end. The results, however, are changes that will be felt not only in your family, but your children's families as well.