1.) Have clearly defined roles and values, and stick to them. If you’d like to pass on the value that it’s best to offer help before someone has to ask for it, then demonstrate it. Things can get very confusing when the “Do as I say, not as I do” mantra is practiced. If you want your kids to stand up for themselves, laugh off the little things, or put something away when they’re done using it, than you should try your best to do those things too.
2.) Delegate. One of the reasons many families have an unnecessary amount of stress is that one person is doing all the work. Maybe the mother is working full time as well as keeping the house clean, dropping off and picking up the kids from school activities, making dinner, doing the grocery shopping, and much, much more. In this case, it can be hard for anyone else to even begin to help. They don’t know what to do.
So define the roles. Maybe it’s the 12 year-old’s job to make sure the dishes are done and the table is set, the 15 year-old’s job to make sure the animals are fed and the living room is vacuumed. When one parent comes to home to make dinner, it’s the other parent’s job to pick up the kids from soccer practice. When everyone pitches in, everything gets a little easier.
3.) Communicate. As advanced as modern science and technology is, it still hasn’t cracked the code that would allow us all to be mind-readers. If you or another member of your family is unhappy with the status-quo, something needs to be said, and in order for that to happen, a welcoming and non-judgmental environment needs to be set in place.
But since it’s tough to just outright say something (we all still struggle with it), help each other out. Just a simple, “How was your day?”is enough to get the ball rolling. Showing that you’re interesting and concerned with each other’s lives will help each other feel connected and valued.
4.) Point out the good. It’s such a small gesture, but it goes so far in keeping your family a close-knit group. “I saw you got an ‘A’ on that last test, great job,” or “Awesome job with dinner tonight, that was delicious,” is a simple way to show you care.
5.) Be polite and respectful. Everyone is going to get testy at one point or another. It’s a simple fact that families are chaotic and not everyone is happy all the time, but as long as you agree to be respectful (that means no namecalling, under any circumstance), things are much likely to smooth over.
Oh and “please” and “thank-you” never hurt anyone.
How do you help your family function?