Sex & Relationships

How to have a happier family

Follow these three steps to create a thriving home environment

Family of four

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You know “office culture” affects how well you do your job, how much you enjoy yourself at work and how much enthusiasm you bring to projects. And that office culture is influenced by two main things: first, the way those in charge share critical information; second, how you interact with one another. If the culture is poisonous, it can make you sick, stressed and miserable.

Well, guess what? The same is true for family culture. How you relate to one another and communicate affects the health and happiness of yourself and your kids. When you cultivate a positive culture, it’s easier for you to avoid the nagging trap, your kids will want to invite friends over, and you’ll spend more quality time together.

Here’s my advice on how to create a more meaningful and positive culture in your home.

1. Identify a starting point
Jot down three words that describe your current family culture. Try finishing this sentence: “Our life together is…” (Maybe it’s happy, relaxed, stressed, overworked, chaotic.) Then ask each person who shares your home (including kids and other relatives) to answer the same question. (Don’t be surprised if people use different words — that’s what makes the exercise interesting!) These descriptors will provide powerful clues about how to strengthen family bonds.

2. Define your ideal
Next, have everyone write out three words to describe what they want the culture to be. For instance, your kids might say they want the family environment to be more playful and relaxed (common answers from kids and a good reminder for parents). Once you have everyone’s answers, talk as a group to determine your top three family values based on the words you’ve all chosen.

3. Put ideas into action
Brainstorm ideas that will help your family cultivate its ideal culture. Then follow through. So if everyone decides it’s important to be socially responsible, start volunteering together at a local charity. Or if the kids feel too over-scheduled with activities, let them cut something out without making them feel guilty. When you take the time to identify common goals, you’ll all feel like part of a team where the culture is purposeful and meaningful — and that will lead to stronger emotional ties.

Find more advice from Karyn Gordon here.

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