HomeLoveFamily5 Scientifically Proven Methods to Strengthen Family Relationships

5 Scientifically Proven Methods to Strengthen Family Relationships

and Reviewed By Mira Djakov, MMFT

Keeping your family together has never been more complicated than it is today. More work hours means less time available to spend with your loved ones, especially children, who often find themselves craving attention from both of their overworked parents.

Now more than ever, people need scientifically proven methods to strengthen the family relationship and keep it together. It is the foundation upon which we have built for millennia. If we let it crumble now, our future will be dire indeed. That is why we must overcome all distractions in our path, and begin nurturing behavior that drives families closer.

Eat Dinner Together

It’s idyllic to see a family come together at the end of the day and enjoy not just a meal, but also good company and caring people who genuinely care about their day.

The more apparent benefits of having dinner together as a family is the opportunity to expose progeny to healthier, homemade meals, or food they haven’t tried yet. It’s also the perfect opportunity to bond. With more and more work piling up and fewer hours to spend with your family, dinner is the most likely meal that you are going to have together.

Adolescents can tell you about their day and inquire about yours. Young ones rely on patterns and routines, so having dinner together will make them feel more secure. Moreover, there’s some sanctity to eating together, a feeling of belonging to a tradition that is just your own.

Such a routine will enable you to communicate more with your family and strengthen your relationship. The quality of this kind of communication has been proven to help adolescents to increase their prosocial behavior, emotional well-being, and overall life satisfaction (Elgar, Craig & Trites 2012).

Volunteer as a Family

Many organizations and projects offer families a chance to try their hand at volunteering and experience one of the most bonding activities out there.

Before you get into it, you should know – it’s not easy. Sacrifices are necessary, most notably your personal time and financials, but more harrowing than anything is growing attached emotionally to the people you’re trying to help. It can be especially hard if they pass on, and you never get to see them again – the whole family will feel that.

However, the upsides are so immense and invaluable to the relationship between you and your family that it’s worth giving it a shot. Young ones have much to learn from such activities, namely that they are fortunate with what they’ve got when they see those less fortunate, which will make the kids less self-centered. They’ll also learn to be kind and become more empathetic in the process, something that seems to be very rare these days.

Most importantly (in this context, at least), children will see how much their parents care and how involved they are in the community. Not only will this make parents seem like better role models, but it’s also going to rub off on how your kids feel about each other – sibling relationships have shown to improve significantly under these circumstances (Littlepage, Obergfell & Zanin 2003).

Explore the World

Traveling with your children can be an incredible, relaxing (depending on their age), and educational journey that will take you out of your comfort zone. Recent studies suggest that there’s far more to traveling than previously thought.

The fundamental, underlying reason is the same, and you’ll realize that this is already a recurring pattern – parents don’t have enough time to spend with their offspring. So, while you may be tempted to think that you’re just escaping the routine and going away for a while, trust that there is far more going on not only with the children, but with adults as well.

Aside from introducing them to cultures and people different than their own and showing them the world of possibilities that lies beyond, you’ll also grow a bond more intimate than anything you’ll be able to teach them willingly. You’ll have more time to talk to each other than ever, spouse included, and share in a wide array of activities. These happenings will, in turn, reinforce the family and improve each individual’s sense of well-being (Durko & Petrick 2016).

Support Each Other

There are good moments, and there are bad moments in a family. What studies show is that how we respond to those moments make a family stronger or weaker, not what kind of event it was.

In other words, you ought to be supportive at all times whatever the case may be. Celebrate one another’s victories truthfully, both physically and emotionally, as children can pick up on how you feel. Failures await around every corner, and as an adult, you should be fully aware of this. Make sure that you pass on a very valuable lesson: failures will happen – all that matters is you dust yourself off and keep at it.

Furthermore, children of the 21st century tend to turn to their “second family” for guidance and a sense of belonging if they don’t feel truly supported by their parents. The danger is that they will accept the values and morals of their peers as more important than yours. This can lead to numerous problems (Taffel & Blau 2001). For instance, it is known that adolescents are more prone to depression when not feeling supported or have conflictual relationships with their caregivers (Sheeber et al. 1997).

While it’s important to be there both physically and mentally for your young ones and adolescents, you should not forget about your significant other. They too will have a fair share of hard pills to swallow; an act made easier by a supportive family.

To keep your family relationship truly powerful, everyone needs to feel supported – the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Show Appreciation

Finally, to strengthen the family relationship, each member should learn how to appreciate and express gratitude for what other members do to make their lives better.

Consider that appreciation and gratitude are not the same things. You can show appreciation without expressing gratitude and vice versa. Instead of just thanking someone (expressing gratitude), show them that you truly understand how much they care. Do something in return. The heartfelt gesture will be recognized and appreciated back.

Closing Thoughts

By applying as many methods out of these five as you can, you ensure that the relationship you have with your family grows stronger each day. Willingness to strengthen the bond that you have with other members is the first step to actually making a better life for everyone around you, no matter how many distractions and intrusions you daily face. It’s up to you as a parent to take charge and lead the way to show what family is and to keep working on it without stopping.

Additional Resources:

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