A strong family gives its members the support they need to make it through life's toughest spots. Strong families have good communication. Strong families have. However, building better family relationships with children and with all family and support for each other as parents enhances the couple relationship and. Healthy family relationships are important for your child's wellbeing and development. Building strong family relationships supports them to cope with challenges.
For example, agreeing that everyone gets to choose their favourite TV show that week and to take turns watching something they enjoy. When not dealt with effectively, conflict can be stressful and damaging to relationships. Many parents and carers find that conflict between siblings happens again and again.
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Children in the same family often argue, tease and complain about each other, even though they may provide good company for one another during other times. When children fight, it is important for parents and carers to help children identify the problem behind the conflict and guide them through a process of problem solving.
Children often look to a parent or carer to judge who is right and who is wrong in a conflict; however, taking this approach can lead to more frequent conflicts. Assisting children to work through the steps of problem solving helps them manage conflict fairly and become more cooperative the problem-solving process is discussed later in this information sheet.
The following sections provide some suggestions about how to strengthen family relationships so positive experiences outweigh difficult ones.
When relationships are strong and healthy, they are better able to withstand the stress of challenging times and celebrate the positive experiences. Building positive family relationships is about dealing with conflicts as well as making time to relax and do fun things together. Ways to build healthy family relationships Building and maintaining positive relationships with children and with all family members is not always easy. All families have times when tempers flare, feelings get hurt and misunderstandings occur.
It takes good communication, flexibility and creativity to manage these situations and maintain positive connections. Some factors that help build strong and caring family relationships include: Making relationships a priority Our responsibilities outside the home are important. Likewise, putting aside some time to look after our relationships at home is also important.
By making family relationships a priority, we are highlighting that they are important to us. Here are a few ways to show your family that they are important: Spend time with children and other family members: Many of us lead very busy lives with lots of responsibilities. When you are together, it may be helpful to set aside a few minutes each day to spend with your family and children doing simple things like talking to them, singing songs, playing a game, reading a story or the newspaper, or even making dinner together.
Make the activity fun or do something that your child wants to do. Let your child show you how to do something so that they feel special. Seizing opportunities to spend time with family members as they arise can be helpful as well.
Building Strong Family Relationships - Cooperative Extension
Everyone has different ways of showing love and care. Some people give lots of hugs and kisses, others give a high-five, pat on the back, nod, wink or show a thumbs-up.
Any positive sign of affection shows that you care and may help develop trust and closeness in the relationship. Being warm and caring also means giving your family and children attention both when they are happy and engaged in their activities and when they are upset and need some comforting.
While it is fun to celebrate birthdays and important milestones like walking, using a spoon or riding a tricycle, we can also make happy occasions out of everyday positive things that your child does.
Separate work and family life: Work can take many forms, including household chores, working in the garden, working in an office or organisation, caring for family members or running errands. This can take up a large part of the day. Sometimes we may forget to switch off from work and end up thinking about it even when we are not working. It may be helpful to remind ourselves to try to give our full attention to our family and children when we are with them.
If we do remember something work-related, it may be helpful to write it down for later. This can help with being fully present with our family. When children see you making relationships a priority in the ways described above, they learn that they are important to you and feel loved. Children will then understand these are important things to do to build strong relationships. Communicating effectively Effective communication means that everyone has a say and is listened to.
Good communication is essential for healthy relationships. The way people talk and listen to each other builds emotional ties and helps make our wants and needs clear. Effective communication helps family members feel understood and supported.
However, communicating effectively can be challenging when there is pressure to get things done. Ineffective styles of communication can also damage relationships.
This occurs, for example, when family members speak to each other disrespectfully or use put-downs. The adults within a family can communicate values to children, such as respect and caring.
This can be done by taking some time every day to talk and share information with children. Children also learn how to communicate respectfully when they see the adults around them speak respectfully to each other. As a result, children may begin to copy these respectful ways of communicating. Families can set the tone for positive communication: Focus on what children are saying to show that you are genuinely interested.
Give your full attention and treat what family members say as important.
The building blocks of healthy family relationships
While really listening can take a little extra time, it can also help you and your child to come up with joint solutions for problems when needed rather than offering your own solutions. Paying attention to emotions is important for supporting positive family relationships. As well as listening to words, it helps to pay attention to body language and expressions as this will assist in noticing and responding to feelings. Tuning into your own feelings and expressing them in ways that allow others to understand them promotes caring relationships.
By helping children to explain their feelings you can help them understand their emotions. Acknowledging feelings might in itself be a solution for your child.
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It is easier for people to listen and accept your view when you communicate in a respectful and caring way. This allows children to sense your calmness and warmth even when setting boundaries. The way you communicate is important as children are learning what to do by watching you. Focusing and providing caring responses may not always be easy, especially when you are tired, busy or dealing with conflict. However, by showing children that what they say is important and providing them with respectful responses, they can learn to do the same when they communicate with you, other family members, and their peers.
Clear messages are less likely to be misinterpreted. Avoid giving mixed messages where you say one thing and do another. Since people see actions more often than they hear the words you are saying, try to match what you do with what you say.
When this is not possible e. The way adults speak can encourage children to respond or to shut down. Listening and paying attention shows interest but it is also helpful to ask specific questions about topics of interest to children. This encourages them to talk more and share their knowledge. Often they find it easier to talk spontaneously, for example, while doing an everyday activity, rather than sitting down to talk face to face.
Working together as a family Discussing things as a family is often very helpful for dealing with concerns and finding solutions to problems that come up. It is also helpful to have family discussions when planning something fun for the whole family to do.
Working together as a family helps everyone feel that they have something important to offer. This helps create a sense of belonging in the family and strengthens family bonds.
These strategies may help families work together: Talk together so there is an opportunity to explain roles and expectations. Talk about the good stuff: It is helpful to talk about what is working well in family relationships. This gives the family a chance to talk about both the little things and the big things.
Discussions can be very short or long, spontaneous or planned, depending on what needs to be talked about and how long very young children can focus for. It can be used to decide on family chores, house rules or plan family activities and outings.
Let children who are able to talk to have a say. Include children in decisions: Even very young children can be included in decision making. This decision making helps the children feel valued and important. Working together as a family helps everyone feel they have something important to offer.
Some ideas on how to use family discussions: Setting up a chores roster. Saying things you would like to happen eg Tina wants more time to play with mum or dad wants more hellos and hugs.
Setting up the house rules. Planning a zoo outing and which exhibits to look at. Having everyday family fun eg card games or making pizza together. Resolving a conflict that has occurred between all siblings. For sole parent families in particular, having a support network of friends and relatives makes a big difference. Separated sole parents and children also benefit from having a positive co-parenting arrangement with the other parent. This can be achieved when parents and carers value and respect the importance of children having opportunities to develop their relationships with both parents.
Blended and step-families can have more complex relationship needs to take into account. Children may feel their prior relationships with parents or carers are displaced by the new couple relationship. Family members, especially children, may still be grieving the loss of their original family. New relationships between children and parents or carers need to be negotiated and old ones renegotiated. Children may spend time with two families who have different expectations of them.
These changes can cause significant strain and stress to children as well as to parents and new partners.
It is important to reassure children that they will still have the love and support of both parents. Taking things slowly helps by allowing time for everyone to adjust to new circumstances.
Making realistic expectations and house rules clear to all step-family members is very important. All families experience ups and downs as they strive to do their best for children and deal with challenges that come along. They form the building blocks of healthy family relationships. Togetherness — sharing similar values and beliefs that create a sense of belonging and bonding. Sharing activities — spending time together doing things they enjoy, for example, sports, reading, camping, playing games.