Are you wondering how you can create and nurture flourishing families? Are you interested in learning how to create a joyful home life for your family so that everyone feels safe and comfortable to be themselves? Great – keep reading!
Before we go on it’s important to know that no family is perfect and happy all of the time. There are some families that are currently facing grief and loss, financial hardship, divorce and separation, poor health and sickness, violence, and abuse among many other challenges.
And regardless of the circumstances, every family has the right to be healthy, happy, and successful. Families deserve to flourish even through hard times, and by creating strong family values and family traditions you will be able to (eventually) pull through whatever life throws your way.
In most households both parents have to work, single parents are doing the very best that they can, and then there are the struggles that come with blended families. No wonder it can be such a challenging task to try and instill any family values in such a fast-paced and ever-changing family environment. It’s so easy today with all the demands of life that we as parents lose sight of what kind of benefits flourishing families can make to our children’s life.
Do you remember what made you happy as a child growing up within your family? Was it having your parent’s attention? Was it being included in decision making? Perhaps you were encouraged to be yourself and you were able to pursue your natural skills and talents? Did you look forward to Friday night’s because you were allowed to stay up late and order pizza for dinner? Maybe you felt like an outsider and were misunderstood and felt like you never really belonged? And this is why you feel it’s so important to create flourishing families now with your own children?
I believe that creating a happy family starts with instilling great family values. Values are super important when it comes to parenting because they have an influence on everyone’s behavior and attitudes and also affect decision making. It’s no wonder that parents want to instill good values in their children!
The challenge these days is that parents themselves aren’t really sure what’s important to them, what it is they really value. When parents are clear on what they value they’ll be better equipped when it comes to sharing and communicating with their children.
Values are the foundation layer to my Six Steps To Discovering You framework. I encourage you to have a look at this workbook as it will help you get clear on what’s most important to you. This will put you in a better position when it comes to talking about values with your children.)
As an example, if you’re not clear that you want your child to demonstrate gratitude, you’ll end up missing opportunities to show your child how they can be thankful. Perhaps you value family, but you’re spending seventy hours a week at work?
Do your values contradict each other? For example, do you value honesty or politeness? Neatness or creativity? Understanding your values helps you to understand when values start to conflict with one another and then how you can prioritize.
Often our values change when we become parents because we now prioritize or child’s health, wellbeing, and safety over everything else. Most new parents never really stop to reevaluate their values, and as a side effect, this starts to create dissonance within the family and within themself.
When I became a parent, it was so important to create a healthy, dynamic family that had strong values and fun traditions. Having healthy family values and traditions are vital for bringing the family together. For me, a family that plays together stays together!
Family values can become ingrained when they are reinforced at home, meaning the values automatically become a part of who you are and how you behave outside the home. This is particularly important when it comes to our children as we do not always have eyes on them.
Having strong family values allows your children to make better choices in social situations, and to take the higher ground when faced with conflicting decisions. This is a big responsibility for parents and one that should not be taken lightly.
Family values will change with age and over time. Some values will increase in importance while others become less important. As an example when your child was a toddler, did you ever wish that they were less active and more obedient? And then as they grow up you actually appreciate that your child has a huge amount of energy and curiosity?
When it comes to teenagers, an effective way that they begin separating themselves away from the family is by rejecting the parents’ values. If a young adolescent has not had the freedom to voice differences whilst growing up, they might feel the need to rebel with force in their teenage years as a way of removing themselves from their parents.
It’s also not uncommon for parents to sometimes disagree overvalues, about what is important and what traits to encourage in their children. As an example, one parent may encourage their child to be outspoken and assertive, while the other parent may prefer their child to be respectful and obedient.
Insightful questions to ask yourself for starting flourishing families:
From birth to seven years these are called the imprinting years, where values will be picked up from the environment, mostly from home, parents, grandparents and immediate family.
From seven years to fourteen years these are called the modeling years. This is where your child will learn values by simply observing what you do and what their peers are doing and then they’ll eventually come to their own conclusion about what that means and what they believe.
No matter hold your children are, it’s never too late to start instilling and modeling some great family values.
In our family, we have started by limiting the use of technology/mobile phones in our home. I am guilty of having my head down looking at my phone on numerous occasions while I hear “Mum”, “Mum”, “Mamma”, ‘Mamma” “Mummy”, “Mummy!”. I also find myself talking to a brick wall when my husband sits on his phone; he gets so engrossed in watching videos and scrolling through Facebook that some night’s we don’t even speak to each other!
It’s so easy to be drawn into social media, numerous apps on our phones, and responding to emails. But as I remind my husband (daily) the video’s, and snap chats and messages will all still be there in a few hours (when the children go to bed) so while our children are young and still want our undivided attention, let’s make an effort to keep our heads up!
When the boys have our undivided attention they are at their happiest! (and I know this won’t last forever) They’re showing us tricks on their bikes and cool dance moves. The boys are super proud to show off their skills and thrive on having their mum and dad as an active participant and audience.
Another big one for me at the moment is communication. Good family values encourage an honest and open household where children feel safe to be able to come to you and talk to you about anything. Not only that, but the main cause of conflict and relationship breakdowns is also a lack of communication. (Which can mean so many things by the way!)
I love that my kids feel safe enough to come to me and tell me that something has broken or that something is wrong. As a kid I never felt like I could approach my mum and talk to her about anything, it was a horrible and isolating experience and one that I never want my boys to experience.
When everyone understands their roles and responsibilities within the family, there is less chance of chaos and confusion. Less texting and assuming and more talking and connecting!
It’s so important to me that my children grow up realizing just how good they have it. And that no matter how bad their day was, they have a lot to be grateful for. A roof over their heads, a fridge and pantry with food when they’re hungry, clean drinking water, hot water, heating, clothing, education. I mean the list is endless. But unless our children are taught that not every child has these luxuries, how are they to know?
A cool idea that I saw online some time ago was a family rules poster. I decided to get one created, and I have it framed up on our wall. It’s called Fualau Family Rules, In This House We… say I’m sorry, make mistakes, give big hugs, dream big, say our prayers, chase our dreams, always tell the truth, never give up, do forgiveness, like to have fun, say I’m sorry, make new memories, count our blessings, are a little bit crazy, embrace change, say I love you, think of others before thinking of ourselves, say please and thank you, work hard, help those in need, give second chances, treat others the way we want to be treated. We are Family.
This is what we value and enforce in our home. And it’s nice to be reminded of it every day while I walk to the kitchen. I encourage you to do this and have everyone in the family pitch in with their ideas!
To create flourishing families, I also encourage you to think of creating fun family traditions. Here are some very simple examples of traditions that we have in our home:
As a parent, I love celebrating my children’s birthdays. Like absolutely love it! When it’s someone’s birthday in our house, they will always wake up to a room full of balloons! I’m all about the experience and creating happy memories. It’s not about over the top presents and parties. For me, it’s about making them feel extra loved and special on their birthday (even more than usual!)
At Christmas time in our home, on the first day of December, the boys get a gift box to open with Christmas goodies, such as reindeer slippers, Santa pj’s, a chocolate advent calendar, Christmas themed coloring books, and stories.
Mother’s Day and Father’s day is always breakfast in bed and homemade gifts.
As my husband is Samoan and I am Australian, it has been very important to include and acknowledge both his and my values when raising our children and doing what we believe is right for our family. Mixing the two cultures can sometimes prove tricky, but we’ve managed to get the balance just right, most of the time!
No matter how old your children are, it’s never too late to start introducing family values and traditions. This really does help to bring the family together. What do you value as a family? Do you have any fun traditions? I’d love to hear from you.
If you’re looking to improve the family dynamics in your home, or need help in introducing some ideas to your family, I am here to help you achieve flourishing families. You can get in touch with me here.
Information on flourishing families: the Center for Parenting Education… Using your values to raise caring responsible resilient children: https://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/indulgence-values/values-matter-using-your-values-to-raise-caring-responsible-resilient-children-what-are-values/?fbclid=IwAR3_zErjoUE9GSivPLUfUJtMEOOkz9ub2P8Ga_x57OQG7PObOf1IMiXC9iM