Do you ever feel like your family is drifting apart?
Well, you’re not alone. Every family goes through periods of communication breakdown where it feels like you’re all living completely separate lives. Don’t beat yourself up over it, but don’t let it continue either. The longer your family goes without any real bonding, the harder it’ll be to connect again.
With that said, it’s never impossible to connect with family you have drifted apart from, as long as all parties are willing.
Follow these 6 techniques to improve your family’s bond.
1. Put your family first
If you start feeling disconnected, chances are good that you’ve let something get in the way of family time. Maybe it’s work, social media or friendships (yours or your children’s), but it’s time to reverse that pattern.
Identify one thing, if you can, that’s taking the most time away from your family. Do whatever you can to minimize its impact on family time. If you’re working too many hours, see if you can take work home and do it after the kids go to sleep. If you’re spending too much time on your phone, make a serious effort to put it down. Whatever the time-waster is, don’t let it interfere with family time.
2. Communicate more and better
You can talk to your family all day and still feel like you’re drifting apart, if you’re talking about the wrong things. Try to have more meaningful conversations by asking about their day and responding with more questions or relevant comments. Show you care by listening and responding to what they say.
3. Show your appreciation
Showing appreciation is about more than saying thank you, but thank you’s are also important. If you’ve lost this basic pleasantry, it may be time to add it back into your repertoire.
But the absolute best way to show your appreciation is by returning the favor. If someone does something nice for you, do something nice for them. Talk about the nice things your family members have done for you too. Even if it feels forced at first, we all need to feel appreciated, so it’ll pay off in the end.
4. Treat family as you would friends
We’ve all said terrible things to our family members that we wish we could take back. But here’s the thing: You can’t take it back. So, before you utter any hateful words in the heat of the moment, think about whether you’d say this to your best friend.
We tend to be nicer to our friends than our family because we know friends have a choice. They don’t have to put up with rage-fueled outbursts and doors slammed in their faces. But the fact that family will still be there through the worst should help us appreciate them more.
5. Designate a family fun night
It’s important to spend time together if you want to bond, but it’s also helpful to share common experiences. Try to designate one night a week to do something fun with the family.
You could join a bowling league, try different restaurants or have a movie night at home. Just make sure everyone is there and no one is glued to their phones.
6. Get outside help
If you’re working to overcome an obstacle or are having trouble getting through to someone in your family, consider going to family therapy. Sometimes, it just takes an outside ear to get people talking about the issues that stand in the way of being happy. This can be a temporary or more permanent part of your life, depending on how well it works for you.
There’s nothing more important than the family bond, so try to get everyone on the same page before they drift too far apart.
Other Links of Interest:
4 Ways a Life Coach Can Help You & Your Family
Three Reasons Why You Should Make A Family Yearbook