In this day and age, family bonding is something that people just don’t seem to think about. Families often relax and spend their free time in the same building, the same home, but they might as well be on opposite sides of the planet, as one partner is out working in the garden or in the workshop while the other has their head in a book or is on the phone to friends. Meanwhile, the kids are playing on separate games consoles because it was easier to buy two than to teach them to share with each other.
Family bonding is essential to building strong family units. What you teach your kids about families now will permanently affect their views on the matter. Kids watch and learn from their parents. If you’re a bad parent, the chances are that your kids will grow up to be bad parents, too. By sharing your free time with your spouse and your kids, you show everyone that they are worthy, that you value them, you’re not too busy for them and there’s nothing more important that you should be doing. Of course, the reverse is also true. If you don’t spend time with them, they will think that they aren’t worth your time (at least in your opinion) and may resent the fact. If your kids and spouse don’t feel valued, it’s likely that they will come under the influence of an outside party at some point. This could mean big trouble for your children’s future and the future of your marriage, too.
Family bonding allows communication between family members to improve. Sensitive topics can be discussed maturely without any embarrassment or urge to avoid the topic. Your children and your spouse will feel that they have someone who will listen to them, thus reducing the chance that they will take any problems outside the family to try to solve them. It also makes them feel that you value their input and that you love them.
Bonding also improves mutual respect, which has a direct correlation to people’s behavior. As your children and spouse begin to respect you more, and see that you offer them respect in turn, their behavior will improve. A spouse who was thinking about cheating may reconsider. A child who enjoys being naughty may cease to do so.
Great ways to bond together as a family include all activities in which everyone can actively participate. Plan, make and eat a family meal together. Work on a household project together, such as laying vegetable beds or painting the fence. These kinds of activities create special memories which act as reference points for each family member. Every time they see that fence, they will be reminded of everyone’s contribution to it, the family coming together as one. When they smell chickpeas, they will remember the family meal that was such a disaster and was almost inedible, yet so much fun to make, giving you all plenty of chances to laugh about it together.
If one of your family members has a particular interest, such as following a professional sports team or reading books by a particular author, make that a focal point for bonding. Buy a family season ticket so you can go to the games together and cheer on the team together. You’ll experience the highs and the lows together, as a family. Compare notes and impressions about the books you read and discuss what you liked and didn’t like.
Adding an element of competition can also make it more interesting. If you have an exercise bike, you could take turns to try to outdo each other’s performances. It’s family bonding and keeping fit at the same time. Such a passion could easily be transferred to road bikes and see you cycling the Great Wall of China for charity before the year is out. If you don’t have any fitness equipment at home, start at Indoor Ellipticals, where you’ll find some great ideas about machine which can help your family bond and keep fit, too.
There are millions of other ways in which you can improve your family bonding. Hold a family meeting to discuss each other’s ideas about it. There is a lot at stake.