Sometimes, our best intentions simply don’t cut it. Many of us live busy and hectic lives, and the demands of family life often have to be postponed or reprioritized until we have more resources, such as time and energy. Last week, in honor of National Family Wellness Month, we looked at family cohesion, or the emotional bonding that occurs between family members, and its effect on your family’s overall wellness.
This week, let’s explore some very practical ways that you can begin to strengthen your family’s cohesion, leading to greater adaptability in the face of inevitable challenges that come up in life. The idea here is that, as your family comes together in a connected way, it’ll become an ever-greater powerhouse for managing our busy and hectic lives—transforming our best intentions into something more fruitful.
HOW CAN I BEGIN TO BUILD COHESIVENESS IN MY FAMILY?
Begin by arranging a meeting with all family members to discuss the importance of family unity. Review the signs of family cohesion, and, as a team, evaluate your family’s strengths and areas where improvement may be needed. Any areas of potential growth will essentially serve as your goals.
Once your goals are firmly established, develop a plan to tackle them. Some of the following activities may help:
- Schedule regular family meetings. Develop an agenda, and encourage every member to contribute. Demonstrate that you take the meetings seriously, just as you would a meeting in your workplace. Assign a family member to take notes and list actions to be taken as a result of the meeting. Follow up to make certain agreements are kept.
- Spending time together as a family is a wise investment. Agree to spend time together on a regular basis. For example, you might agree to have dinner together every Sunday and Wednesday evenings.
- Make a list of activities the family can do together that everyone will enjoy. Schedule time to do them. Here are some examples: walk the family dog together, cook together and do volunteer work together.
- Stay in contact with family members who live far away. Make it important enough to schedule visits from time to time.
- Develop strong communication skills. You can do this by reading a book, taking a class, or working with a mental health professional, such as a therapist or a counselor.
- If your family suffers from blaming and complaining, learn to manage anger and conflict. Family therapy can help with this too.
- Establish new family rituals and keep the old, good ones alive.
Remember, it’s not unusual for this process of strengthening family unity to require a bit of strategy and patience. Often, families find that family therapy services are invaluable, especially for the bigger tasks listed above, such as changing communication patterns.
At TherapyWorks, our inclusive, supportive environment contributes to successful family interactions and assists families in finding solutions that work for them. And because convenience is important, our professional and responsive support team prioritize your care, offering flexible scheduling options, including evening and weekend appointments, and contemporary privacy practices.