Family bonding is a key element of keeping a healthy home. It can improve communication and respect within the family, as well as, simply, be fun. In the age of computers, televisions, and smartphones, making time for face-to-face interaction is as important as ever. Although research shows that even playing videogames together has a positive impact on adolescent development, there are more traditional ideas for activities that facilitate family bonding.
Any Time can be Family Time
A great misconception about family bonding is that it has to be forced. Certain traditional things – family dinner for instance – should be an exception, rather than the rule. Although it is useful to set time aside every day specifically for the purpose of family bonding, if an opportunity arises organically, it can prove just as useful. Doing chores together can become a game, just as going to the movies in the middle of the week can be a pleasant distraction and a chance to talk.
Everyone knows the stereotypes of the parent who pries and the teen who evades. Quality family bonding can do away with the need to interrogate altogether – by simply talking and taking your teen’s problems seriously, you can build more than a simple child-parent bond: you can form a friendship. It is also important to remember that this time is not just for your teen’s benefit – if done right, it can increase the health of the whole family. As such, it should not be an activity that only one of you enjoys; instead, talk to your teen and see what they would like to do.
Together, anything from a walk in the park to preparing a meal can turn into a chance for them to tell you their feelings. By showing your teen that you are there for them, you will earn their trust much more so than by simply putting them on the spot.
Parenthood is hard, there is no denying it. But by being yourself, treating your teens as adults, and keeping a positive attitude, you can shift family bonding from a dreaded necessity to a time your children look forward to with anticipation.
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