The Ultimate Guide to Increasing Family Unity
One of the most innate desires we have as parents is to have a strong, unified family. I’m here to tell you, that while it takes effort, that dream is completely attainable!
Growing up, I lived in a home where I witnessed divorce, marriage, and parents striving to strengthen their blended family. Sound familiar? I’m now married and we just had our fifth baby! One thing is for sure…parents are NOT perfect. But, what pulls families through the hard times is our love and concern for one another. This is why it is so important to intentionally create opportunities in your home to strengthen those family ties!
What is Family Unity?
So what does it mean to be united? Let’s start right there!
If we are united… we are ONE…we share the same goals and we help each other reach those goals.
All good changes start with a strong DESIRE and are followed by a VISION and a good PLAN. Clearly you already have the DESIRE if you’re here, so let’s talk about VISION!
Create a Family Vision Statement
I’ve been listening to an amazing podcast series by Power of Families. Saren has an entire epidsode on family identity where she discusses Creating a Family Vision and a Family Mission Statement. Check out her podcast here! And if you’d like to check out the whole series go here!
Homework: Make your own Vision and Mission Statement!
I want to challenge you to sit down and think about what matters most to you. (Even better if you can do this with your spouse!) How do you picture your family five or ten years from now? Dream big and write it down! After you’ve defined your family Vision together as parents, hold a family meeting and share your vision with your children.
Want to know a little secret? …The journey to obtaining our vision is how families become strong! Start with a three month period and set a realistic goal or two that will stretch you and your family. These can be personal goals that you’ll help each other with, or a goal designed for everyone to work together on. Either way, you are working together and helping each other to become better.
It’s okay to be Perfectly Imperfect!
Please, don’t be discouraged if your family isn’t picture perfect! Because guess what?! It isn’t supposed to be! That’s part of God’s plan for us. As we work toward learning to love each other despite our weaknesses and challenges…those weaknesses will one day be our strengths. So chin up if you’re feeling discouraged! It may feel like it, but YOU are NOT ALONE! And no righteous effort is EVER wasted! God will bless your family as you strive to follow Him!
As a Christian mom, I believe that families are the center of God’s plan for each of us. Through our families, we will experience our greatest ups and downs. They help us to grow in ways we simply couldn’t without them! As we serve and support each other, we inevitably grow closer together. Ultimately, we are given our families to teach us to be more like our Savior. They teach us to LOVE as He does.
How to Begin Cultivating Family Unity?
Families become united when they share a common goal. Learning together, working together, and having fun together is key to our happiness as a family. These three principles cultivate family unity.
So much of our lives are focused on learning. Every step of our lives, let’s face it…we’re LEARNING! That’s what life is all about. But how will learning together make your family stronger? And what should we focus on learning with our families?
Here are some suggestions to get you started! Each of these suggestions will help you create and strengthen family unity in your home.
|What Should my Family Learn Together?||How will Learning Together Make us Stronger?|
|Focus on necessary skills for successful relationships.||You will grow together in love and unity by learning how to treat one another with respect.|
|Teach your children about their ancestors.||When you take the time to learn about your family members, including your ancestors, your sense of belonging in your family increases!|
|Develop life skills such as cooking, finances, etc.||Cooking and cleaning with your family provides the opportunity to contribute to the family. Learning life skills also increases your confidence and love for yourself!|
|Enjoy and learn about the world around you.||When you take the time to learn about our wonderful world around us, your gratitude increases.|
|Learn about the Savior and His gospel together.||Most importantly, nothing increases love and unity in the home more than learning about our Savior. You and your family will share the common goal to follow Christ and become like Him.|
Remember, each member of your family is unique with their own personality and talents. We want to cultivate those talents! Find out what your kiddos want to learn and who they want to become. Challenge them! Cheer them on! This could be anything from learning to read… to learning to change a flat tire. Set goals that will help them grow spiritually, socially, mentally, and physically. And give yourself a deadline! I like to set goals with my children every 90 days.
Is it weird that I’m saying that everyone helping with chores around the house builds family unity? I know when I think about getting my kids started on their chores “unity” is not always the word I’d use! But looking back on my experience as a child, working alongside my siblings at dinner time was without a doubt a positive experience. We all had a role. Every job was important and connected. I couldn’t load the dishwasher unless my sister unloaded first! Everything had a purpose and kept our home functioning and tidy. And, hey, it just feels good to be in a clean home.
Not only did working with my family members give me a sense of belonging, but it also gave me confidence. I knew how to help out around the house. I knew how to weed the garden. To babysit. To mow the lawn. So when I got my first job (Arby’s! Woot!) I felt confident that I could sweep and mop that lobby like a boss. And that I could learn new skills. I was the youngest employee there, yet I stood out because of my work ethic. Where did I learn my work ethic?…from my parents…in my home!
Look for ways you can WORK Together.
Remember those goals we were just talking about? This is a great way to work together as a family. Help each member of your family to set specific goals, then hold a family council and discuss how you can help each other to achieve their goal. For example, if you have a 5-year-old who wants to learn to read this year, how can each member of the family help him? Older siblings can take turns reading to him or reviewing his sight words. Or say you have a child who really wants to make the soccer team. Get your booty out there and kick the ball around together! Or Mom really wants to start a garden this Spring. Get everyone out there to help weed and get the soil ready for planting. You get the point!
Make each others’ goals a family affair. Let’s do what we can to help each other learn, grow, and succeed.
Have Fun Together
Do not underestimate this one! Having fun together is a key pillar in creating strong family unity. And it doesn’t have to be expensive or come in the form of an elaborate vacation. In fact, planning time to just have fun together helps us to slow down and keep an eternal perspective. When we slow down a bit, we realize just how important our family is.
I read a story once where over the summer the father made it a point to travel with his family. They experienced some amazing things! At the end of the summer, he asked one of his sons what his favorite part was. His answer…”The night we laid on the grass and looked at the stars”. What this boy enjoyed the most was just some good old fashioned quality time with his dad!
I challenge you to set aside time each week for family fun. Build up to having some one-on-one fun with each of your children every week or as often as possible!
Need help coming up with some great ideas for easy family fun? Check these out!
What does your family enjoy doing together? Please share your experiences below!!
Tips for Success in Achieving Family Unity
- Family unity begins with the parents. I’m listing this statement first for a reason! Be the example. Make time for each other. Love each other unconditionally.
- Create and display your Family Vision Statement.
- Be intentional with your family time and set goals to help you work toward your Family Vision. My 9-year-old pointed out to me that’s she’s already halfway to college. College! Those 9 years flew by! And I only have 9 years left. :(. As parents, we just can’t afford to waste even a moment with our children. Be intentional!
- Be a Cheerleader! Look for the positive in each family member and focus on that. We tend to become how others see us.
- Pray to see each person in your family the way Christ sees them.
Just imagine the way you’d speak to each other and treat each other if you could see with the Savior’s eyes. Love and respect would be the hallmark of your home. That’s family unity.
Growth and change is a process! Don’t get discouraged if you feel like you’re taking three steps forward and two steps back! That just means you’re a normal human being! Growth is a process…but there’s also growth in the process! Read that last sentence again and let it sink in. 🙂
Common Questions About Creating Family Unity
What if my kids don’t want to participate?
- Start small! After all, this might be very new to them. Start by planning a fun family day. You can even cater the activity to something the reluctant child would be sure to enjoy!
- Be consistent! Once they experience the change working in their own home they’ll be more likely to join in.
- Try to integrate learning into everyday life experiences. Learning should be done actively, and not necessarily in a formal classroom setting. Be sure to encourage a discussion with your child and they’ll be a lot more likely to engage with you. Morning devotionals are awesome, but remember to tailor them to your child’s age. (AKA… remember your audience! I usually tell my husband to “lower [your] expectations!” before we start reading family scriptures. Ha! What I’m really saying is, “Hey, we’ve got a 3-year-old…her attention span is about a minute long…and that’s only if you’re making this fun!”)
- Give them a job to do. Make sure they know they belong. 🙂
Everyone is so busy! Where do I find the time?
Man, oh man is this hard. There are so many good things pulling our family members in different directions. We’re talking school, music lessons, sports, mom and/or dad working…where do we find the time?!
Remember…we need to MAKE TIME for what is most important. That might mean cutting back on extracurricular activities so you can save one night a week for a fun family night. (Bonus! This will help you save a bit of money, too! ha!) There are so many good things in life. Be careful and don’t let them distract you from strengthening your family! Your family needs a LOT of TLC.
How do I put a stop to sibling rivalry in my home?
Can I just say…THE STRUGGLE IS REAL! My oldest child struggles with anxiety and there’s nothing like having two highly energetic boys constantly in her shadow. (And one of the said boys lives for the reaction if you know what I mean.) That’s enough to drive anyone crazy! Ha!
So how do we help our children to stop fighting?
The answer to this can be as varied as the reason they’re fighting to begin with. It all boils down to teaching them to love and respect each other. Let’s teach them to embrace our differences. We are all God’s children and we are not supposed to be exactly the same. Pssst!… That’s not an accident! And because we’re different we also have different opinions, strengths, and talents. Our differences add beauty to our family and make us better together.
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Family Unity
Please don’t forget that the very purpose of this life is to learn to become like our Savior. Where does this learning happen? In our own homes! Our families and our homes are like our “life school”. We’re not perfect. Our family is not perfect. Our job is to love each other and help each other make our weaknesses our strengths.
1. Be an example for your children.
Show them you’re not perfect…(and that’s okay!) by setting goals to become better.
2. Lead the way!
Keep your eyes on the prize! Be intentional!
3. Point out the positive.
Look for the good in your spouse and your children. We all have strengths. Help them see their worth by showing them the talents they already possess! They’ll become the good that you see!
4. Never stop being a cheerleader.
Everyone you meet throughout your life needs encouragement. Your family is no different. Lift others through kindness!
5. Teamwork is a lifestyle.
Your family can’t help but be strengthened and united when everyone learns the true spirit of teamwork. Focus your attention on learning to lift and love each other. Ask what you can do to help each other with your own personal goals.
I’ve learned that the principles of learning, working, and having fun together are all connected. Wonderful teaching opportunities come as children and parents spend more time together. And when you work together, you’re likely learning and having fun together, too! (hopefully 😉 )
What is working for your family? Families look different, but each one is so valuable. Let’s help each other strengthen our families by sharing our tips and tricks! Please share what YOU’RE doing to strengthen your family in the comments below!