As the season of sharing and caring surges ahead, take a long pause to assess your relationship status with members of the family; make determined efforts to bridge gaps, if any, and build on the bricks of love and togetherness.
Loyalty is, perhaps, innate in most families; but for it to thrive and help families bond positively, it needs regular nourishment. It is about instilling a sense of security to make every member feel safe with the other. It is about ensuring that at no time does any member feel that he/she is in a threatening situation. Remember, verbal abuse and constant criticism can all defeat the very edifice of family loyalty. Identify ways to support each other and make the other person feel confident about sharing dreams and ideas.
Laughter and its ability to improve health is well established. It not only does a whole lot of good for your mental and physical health, it also sets the tempo for family bonding and takes it to a beautiful new level. Laughter is, indeed, therapeutic. It helps relieve tension in the family and even strengthen the bonds among the members who are certain to feel connected when they share in the joke. Apply the basics of humour into your family time and enjoy the benefits. Ensure that the laughter induced is not at any member, rather, it is an exercise to laugh together. Find the right balance to use laughter in a positive way and strengthen those family bonds.
Like charity that supposedly should begin at home, appreciation too should find an avenue within the family. It is a human tendency to seek appreciation; to receive generous words of praise for a job well done, for being a good person or simply for dressing up well or looking good, is a big boost. Praise has no age bar, even an octogenarian will be happy to receive a compliment or two. Appreciation is important to maintain good health of the family; it is a motivation to feel positive about each other. Appreciation could be inculcated within the family by simply making the members feel that the other is a friend. It could be shown through action or simply by stating your feelings of love for the other.
There is nothing more important in any relationship than communication. It is a two-way process that has immense import in family bonding. A healthy family is one where members have established strong lines of communication and do spend time talking to each other, even if it is about trivial things that happened during the day. Communication that is effective can be the mainstay of the family. Effective communication will act as the base to share issues of critical importance, when and if they arrive. This could transpire as careful listening and ensuring that you have understood the message. There is trust and honesty in such communication.
The need to feel that we belong, belong to a family, community or society, is universal. Members of the family have a stronger need to experience the feeling of belonging within the household. This happens when there is a complete acceptance – where acceptance means that each member is content in the knowledge that he/she can find support when things are not going right or get encouragement when it is needed. It is the act of making the other feel you are approachable in any situation. It is an expression of belief in the other without being judgemental; it is the feeling of positivity about your status in the family.
You don’t need any research or study to prove that kindness does pay, however, there are tabulated experiments that have shown how the mere act of kindness can not only benefit the receiver, but also the doer. Acts of kindness have a direct say in the release of oxytocin hormone. It could be a simple act of doing the dishes, picking up the grocery or whipping up a dinner for the family without being told.
The arguments over quantity and quality time may have yet to find consensus, but the crux of the matter is that together time, whether defined by quantity or quality, cannot be undermined. It is the time spent together – in shared experiences – that build memories and kindle the feelings of love, acceptance and all things positive. It could be eating dinner together or planning activities like picnics or movies or even a DIY task – together time can be easily created.