Here are some tips to help you build strong and positive relationships with your family.
A safe and happy environment at home is the key to both good physical and mental health. In today's busy society, it is important to remember that the family is your main pillar of support and love. Celebrating successes or special occasions with family members bring joy and meaning to your life. Strong family life also offers stability during periods of stress and life transitions.
Do things together as a family
Family activities facilitate interaction and help strengthen communication between each member of the family. Have regular family outings to places such as the park, beach or museum, volunteer together for participation in community events, or plan together the itineraries for family holidays.
Establishing family routines and traditions also help to foster a supportive and loving environment. These routines can be on daily basis, and can be as simple as putting time aside to have meals together or sharing one another's day with the family. You could also involve your children in household chores and schedule a roster for all members of the family to be involved. Celebrating birthdays, family reunions or special occasions such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya or Deepavali together are also wonderful platforms to be included as part of the family traditions.
By having family routines and traditions, it will help mould younger family members' sense of commitment and responsibility, and further shape a family's identity. Spending time together also promotes a sense of belonging for each member and helps to form feelings of familiarity, understanding and trust. With the foundation of strong relationships, when someone is not his/her normal self, you will be able to notice it more quickly and give attention and support.
Confide and trust on a personal level within the family
Besides discussion and interaction as a group, it is also important to strengthen the individual ties that construct the family unit. Spending regular time on a one-on-one basis would build the rapport and trust that is required in a healthy family. These sessions could be between a parent and a child, a grandparent and a child, or siblings.
Besides offering to listen and understand, one-on-one sharing enables you to share your experiences and learning with other members of the family. It is also important to be patient and encouraging during such sessions. You could encourage sharing of thoughts, feelings, and problems in a non-judgemental manner. With regular communication, you would be able to identify issues earlier and prevent them from escalating further.
Be there for each other
Dad has got a career promotion. Daughter has scored As for her examinations. Mum is Mother of the Year. There are examples of joyous moments that are meant to be shared with one another, especially with the family. It is a great time to celebrate each other's successes and be happy for them!
Happiness is also greater when successes are shared with family and loved ones. The highs of life should be acknowledged and it is a good opportunity to show your appreciation to your family who have contributed in some way to your success.
There are also times when life may be difficult with demands at work or at school. In these moments, one must be mindful not to bottle up these challenges to yourself. The added stress and frustration can negatively impact your family and also the relationship you have with them.
In times of difficulty, learn to take a brave step forward to seek their help and support. A listening ear can help to alleviate the feeling of loneliness. Be open-minded that someone may have great ideas to help you face your challenges. Difficult times are easier to tide through with the support of your family instead of facing it alone.
- Engaging in family routines and traditions can help to build an environment that contributes to good mental well-being. These can be as simple as having regular meals together, or taking holidays as a family.
- It is important to spend one-on-one time with each member of the family to build trust, and also to share burdens.
- Emotional support from the family can help alleviate stress.