Families come in all shapes, sizes, colors and configurations.
Kind of like LEGO blocks, but with emotions! These WISE habits below will help to bring some focus to your family – no matter how fun and funky it is.
WISE families take time to do things together.
One of the most effective things you can do together as a family to strengthen your bond is to eat meals together. You may find that your kids don’t want to do some things with the family as they approach adolescence. They are figuring out their role in the family and searching for a balance between connection and independence – totally normal. There will be plenty of times you can’t spend time together as a family – Life gets in the way. Don’t try to be perfect with this. There are no prizes for being able to juggle school, work, sports, parent conferences, scouts, exercise, mealtime…In other words, sometimes you have to choose – and there is a prize for family togetherness!
WISE families talk to each other with respect.
When there are disagreements, WISE families discuss the issues and come to a compromise resolution. We are BIG fans of the family meeting. Discussing ideas with respect – even if you agree to disagree – leads to increased intimacy and a strong sense of acceptance in the family. All members of the family are encouraged to say what they think, even if their ideas are different from the rest of the family’s. Set some clear ground rules for what is acceptable to say and what isn’t so everyone knows how to act in the family meeting.
WISE families share responsibilities.
Teaching and sharing family responsibilities is such an important part of families. This may be as simple as everyone taking a turn emptying the dishwasher or washing dishes or putting out the trash. Or it may be as important as picking up a neighbor’s mail or newspapers when they’re out of town. Everyone in the family takes part in the duties the family takes on. WISE families instill an attitude of serving each other in the family. This sometimes requires members of the family to put their wishes/desires/needs ‘on hold’ while they do something for another family member. In this way, people in the family learn to think beyond themselves.
WISE families foster a sense of patience and acceptance.
A WISE approach is to allow others their own beliefs while holding your own strongly. Not everyone believes the same way you do. There is so much “noise” in our family’s lives that finding space to figure out what you believe, without outside influence, is pretty tough. Just because you believe differently from someone else doesn’t mean one of you is wrong. There will be times when someone in your family will not budge on the belief he/she holds that’s very different from the rest of the family. There’s no absolute right or wrong way to handle this. It’s best to continue to talk with everyone involved in this situation without blaming or criticizing. Then, when they go out into the world, help them see and practice the truth that everyone’s beliefs are important and accepted.
WISE families become part of their larger community.
No family lives all by itself. Everyone is part of a community of families, neighborhoods and groups. Belonging to these communities and actively involving yourselves gives you a source of support that everyone needs. Staying involved in the community and helping others will build a sense of belonging in the community and increase the self-esteem of the whole family. Show your concern for your community, your state, and our country by talking about issues and educating your kids about these issues. When children learn to give without expecting anything in return, they become better family members and more valuable contributors to our world – we all need that.
WISE families realize there is a time to ask for help.
No family is 100% healthy all the time. Every family runs into times or situations or issues that they can’t handle well. No one expects you to deal with everything that happens in or to your family by yourself (cough, except you – cough). There is no amount of training you can get as parents that will tell you the best thing to do in every situation. A great FIRST STOP is a fellow parent. Ask who they recommend for a particular problem. Your child’s pediatrician and school can also be good sources of information.
Of course, you can always hop on Facebook and go to WISE Families and message me – I once had a fantasy about giving all of my friends parenting advice – you’d be helping me live out my purpose!
Your parent’s heart is full of wisdom – listen to it! Be Wise!
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Amy Fortney Parks call 1-844-947-3326 or visit www.thewisefamily.com