Building a Strong Family Unit after a Change in Custody and Divorce
Strong families grow from love, security, communication and connection. But what does that really mean for your family? Today, we are breaking down what qualities many strong families share and what that could look like for your family.
We know happy families have strong family bonds, but the reality is that today's families are living under stressful circumstances: two working parents, recently divorced parents, single parents, families of mixed ethnicity, same-sex parents, foster parents, adoption, and grandparent as parents. This world can be complicated, but there is strength in all families as they are today and ways to make them stronger.
10 Essential Practices to Strengthen Your Family Unit:
#1 Schedule Quality Time
Strong families spend time together. Special time together could be scheduled or a part of the daily routine. Scheduling quality time doesn't have to be complicated. It could be going for a walk, eating dinner together, having a family fun night on the weekend, cooking or playing games.
For younger kids, reading a bedtime story every night is a great option for quality one-on-one time with snuggles and undivided attention. Check out 100 best books for children or our last blog post about the best books for children coping with divorce.
For older kids and teens, you could be get involved in their interests like shooting hoops, playing a game, attending their school events or watching their favorite show together.
#2 Build Trust
Follow through with promises. It doesn't happen naturally in our hectic day-to-day lives and requires effort. Ways you can build trust is to show up when you say you will or to have family meetings checking in on each other talking about grievances and future plans.
#3 Positive Affirmations
More than a compliment, positive affirmations are an important way to show support. Learn what things are important to each member of the family and be intentional about showing support with those things Share compliments when things go well and commiserate together when they don't. Celebrate the wins like good grades, a soccer game, and a good grade on the test. Reward good behavior by doing something special together.
#4 Love and Affection
Everyone feels loved in different ways. Find in what ways make each of your kids feel loved whether that's quality time, affection, compliments, helping them with tasks, or giving gifts. Helping children feel safe and secure is vital for a strong family and part of that is knowing they are loved unconditionally. "I love you," and "I love our family," are important phrases.
Talking to each other about important dates, schedules, decisions and daily plans are so important for every other essential practice to work. Family meetings and eating together at the table are the perfect opportunities to discuss these things.
Feelings can be hard to talk through sometimes especially when parents are also navigating their own emotions. The more the family unit attempts to talk about feelings, the easier it becomes. Work together on possible solutions when things get heated. Take time to cool off before saying something in the heat of the moment. Be forgiving and gracious. Kids and teens are still very much learning what their feelings are, and it's important you are there to help them work through each experience.
Show commitment to family members by making time for family events or extra curricular activities that are important to them. Help with a fundraiser, provide snack for away game bus, ask where you can help, and spend quality time without phones. Plan family outings on the weekends or a mini vacation as time allows.
#7 Help Each Other
Do chores together. Split the household responsibilities between the entire family. When children are faced with a difficult situation, make sure they feel safe to tell you. Resist shaming or embarrassing them for their mistake. Instead, help them navigate their problem.
#8 Have Fun!
Today's world can be stressful, let loose and find ways to have fun together as a family!
#9 Growing Together
There's a saying that if you aren't growing together, you're growing apart. It's never too late to reconnect. Even bad experiences and crisis can bring about good change. Admit fault and seek help when needed.
Take advantage of every opportunity to celebrate! Celebrating birthdays, big accomplishments, and holidays are an easy way to make kids feel special.
As leaders of the family, parents have sole responsibility for creating an environment that fosters a strong family and helping children feel safe and secure. That's a huge requirement to fill every day. It's so important you take time for your needs, so you can be the best parent you can be.
If you are experiencing divorce, seeking divorce, adopting, or desiring a change in custody, we'd love to help you through it. We believe every client should get the best representation possible. Give us a call at 605-988-8556 to start your journey today.