One of the most significant facets of a harmonious family is connectedness. It is the ability to support, communicate, and improve relationships between family members. Family connectedness is the shared or common emotional bond among parents, children, and siblings that persists for a long time. It creates a feeling of belonging, security, and comfort. Being connected implies that family members are comfortable and eager to engage in meaningful and enjoyable activities, practicing family traditions, creating memories of quality time together, and giving each other freedom and space when necessary.
Several studies have revealed that the close connections between parents and children become a source of protection and strength. These apparently help reduce the incidence of many mental, social, and emotional problems, particularly among adolescents and teenagers. Connectedness is effective from the bottom all the way to the top. It doesn’t matter if you’re co-parenting or sharing parenting roles with an ex-spouse, family member, close friend, or significant other, or if you are a single parent. You can learn and practice a parenting technique that will work on cultivating connectedness.
Below are three steps to creating an effective parenting style.
Think about it. Take time to contemplate what kind of parenting style you want to use and enforce for your child. You can do it by yourself, with your spouse, or significant other. What do you expect in terms of your child’s behavior? Do you want to raise a focused, serious, and relatively dependent child? Or do you want him to grow up to be a carefree, headstrong, and compassionate person? What values do you wish for him to learn? How can you support your children so that they grow up to become successful adults?
Make a plan. Try making some kind of a parenting plan or mission and vision, writing a list of the main aspects that are more relevant to you and your family, and put these on top of your list so you know that they are a priority.
Develop a scheme that encourages team parenting. If you have a partner, come to an agreement on the approach that you will use for your children and make sure you work on enforcing this approach as a team. For instance, when a small misunderstanding comes up, you can agree to settle it right away. However, more profound issues like problems in school or discipline issues must first be discussed in closed doors with only your partner or significant other and then talk to the child after you’ve come up with the appropriate solution.
Make room for errors. Just like other roles, parenting is not easy at all and no parent is perfect as well. Either the dad or the mom will commit errors in the way they discipline or approach their child. Whatever it may be, remember not to blame each other or show anger immediately. Disagreeing on this aspect will never help each other, nor does it benefit your children. Ultimately, if you’re having trouble agreeing on one thing, you can always reach out to a mental health professional that can provide help and guidance in finding common ground.
Indications of Good Family Connections
Each family member should feel loved, understood, and respected so that the atmosphere created in the home is comfortable and with strong and stable emotional connections between parents and children and between spouses as well. It is not uncommon for society to be inconsistent in cultivating good family connections. This is because nowadays there are a lot of devices and gadgets brought about by modern technology that we no longer find the time to communicate face to face through meaningful conversations and fun activities that foster togetherness and joy.
Amidst our busy lifestyles, can you honestly say that you are effectively connecting with your children or your spouse?
The myriad of problems that your teens and adolescents are experiencing – drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, improper physical and sexual behavior, and self-isolation – are due to the lack of healthy and strong connections with their families. Even the younger generations that belong to rich families don’t feel successful and determined and go through the same things mentioned above just to get attention or have some kind of connection.
Study these questions below and assess how ‘connected’ your family is with each other. You may need this to help establish family connectedness.
Is eye contact present in your typical conversations? Making eye contact is something personal and is seen in families that are closely connected to each other.
Do you have set limitations with regards to responsibilities, privacy, and freedom? Family members have chores that are performed routinely, like children washing the dishes, mom doing the cooking, dad working, etc. Additionally, privacy should be respected. Children have the right to make time to play or do their hobbies while parents must have time out for themselves.
Do you care to check in with one another? A connected family always cares about how each is doing or if they feel okay. Children must feel comfortable to talk about their emotions and express them honestly and completely.
Do you cultivate family values? A strong and stable family has rules and values that they call ‘theirs.’ Children are made aware of what values to cherish when we use the phrase ‘in our family’ – ‘In our family, we don’t yell, we just reason and talk,’ or, ‘in our family, we find ways to help each other.’
Do you show love as often as you can? Hugs and kisses are among the most evident gestures that you can do to show how much you love and honor your family. Do show them how much you love them. A small act of love will surely go a long way.