Strong families do not occur by accident. They are created by purposeful action and strategic planning. Research has found that even simple actions, such as having a family meal together once a day or giving a hug each morning and night, can draw a family together and create a strong bond between members.
Other ideas for keeping families strong include participating together in charitable causes and giving each family member an important chore to let him or her know that their role in the group is valuable.
Writing Diaries and Memoirs
Another great method that is helping parents build stronger families may be somewhat surprising. Journaling can act as glue that binds members and also as an excellent form of communication.
Family members should be allowed to choose their own diaries for recording thoughts, emotions, and successes. They are to know that these manuscripts will be public offerings, but they should also know that honesty will be appreciated and their feelings respected.
Family Journal Time
Each day, a timer should be set for at least ten minutes. This is family journal time, and all other distractions should be put aside, including phones and all other electronic devices. Family members should each concentrate on recording their ideas and feelings about the events of the day. These reflections may be unanswered questions, concerns, achievements, angry tirades, or any other reaction to daily circumstances.
Each night, family members must share one entry from their journal with the rest of the group. Then, parents should lead a discussion of the issues addressed until each member’s feelings have been validated.
This nightly routine may seem daunting at first. Modern society leaves very little time for family activities that center on communication and bonding, but keeping a journal forces members to reflect on themselves and on their familial role.
It is sometimes easier to put the words down on paper, where they can be edited, than to speak them aloud because once they are spoken, especially in anger, the hurt caused can never be completely undone.
Establishing a family journal time may mean eliminating one television show each evening or cancelling a shopping trip, but building stronger families is surely worth sacrificing in other areas.
Family journaling is not a magic bullet for parents working on building stronger families by itself. It is, however, a tool that parents can use along with other good parenting skills to bind members into a close knit group.
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