We like to feel comfortable in our own home. It is nice to think of our house as a haven, where we can take respite from the chaos of the outside world. It is important that we all have this view of our home, but we cannot do it alone. We must ask that the other members of our household take on some of the responsibility. This is the way to organized and healthy living for all of our family members, which results in a place of peace and calm.
One of the most important aspects of the organized home is the chore assignment posting. This chart will give each member of the household certain responsibilities that they must fulfill. To make the process of chore assignment fun, and to mix-in some variety, create a game of it. Each week, the family can gather to draw their chores from a bowl, answer trivia questions to determine in what order each person will choose their chores or play the chore lottery by matching numbers with corresponding chores. Then, simply post these chores on a dry erase board, cork board or on the refrigerator. In order to keep everyone motivated to complete their duties, use small weekly rewards or more significant monthly rewards.
Also important is a household schedule, which gives every member of the family a sense of security and predictability. These are essential, especially for children, to eliminate the anxiety associated with not knowing what will be happening in a given day. This schedule should not only include wake-up, meals and bedtime, but also provide delineation of private time, one-on-one time and family time. These periods of time can include activities such as homework, chores, games or dining out. Every member of the family will quickly recognize the benefits of this schedule, even though they may be resistant at first.
Finally, to have a truly peaceful and serene home environment, families must have household rules. These rules must be general enough to apply to everyone in the home, yet specific enough to achieve the purpose for setting them. As such, adults in the home must not exclude themselves from being held accountable for following these policies. Again, creating the regulations of the home should be a family activity in which everyone can take part. In doing this, each member of the household has a sense of ownership for the rules, thus they are more likely to follow them. Obviously, consequences for violations of the rules must also be established.
Establishing household rules, a family schedule and chore charts can have a significant impact on the overall quality of living within any family home. These three simple elements will provide each and every member of the family with the opportunity to view their home as a sanctuary, as well as providing them with a sense of responsibility for maintaining the serenity of the home. Such simple tasks can make a big difference!
Article by Justin Coulson.
See his Happy Families blog here or follow Justin's twitter.
More than two thirds of girls under the age of 10 are bullied, according to a study recently completed by the Girl Guides association of Australia.
Here is a frightening audio example of just how serious it can get.
According to a report in the SMH "68 per cent aged between five and nine reporting that that they had been bullied, many of them online. One fifth of those aged 10 to 14 had also experienced bullying and some 65 per cent said that reports in the media made them worry for their own safety."
The study pointed out the significant challenges associated with cyber-bullying and the use of mobile telephones.
Bullying and teasing occurs in every school yard (and many families) every single day.
Cruel remarks that are delivered to ridicule, taunt, embarrass, and make fun of a victim are common, and are unfortunately accepted as part of life. Parents need effective strategies to help their child overcome the mockery, and bounce back with a resilient mindset. The internet and mobile technology have enlarged the probability that your children will be involved, either as bully, or bullied.
Each case is unique, and should be treated accordingly. Below are three common mistakes parents make when dealing with children upset by teasing, and three simple strategies for providing a supportive environment that buffers your child from the harm teasing can cause. (It is important to note that if threats of serious harm are made, they should be taken seriously and acted on immediately. Intimidatory behaviour is never acceptable).
Mistake 1 – Dismissive Responding
“Oh get over it.”
“Well if you’re going to listen to that, or play with them, it’s your own fault.”
Children who are being teased, harrassed, or bullied will often come to parents for support. Parents who are dismissive are often trying to ‘harden up’ their child, but may reduce resilience by failing to provide needed support.
Mistake 2 – Retaliation
A nine year-old boy was told by his father, “If he’s mean to you again tomorrow, punch him in the nose”.
An eleven year-old girl was told by her mother, “You tell her she’s a rude little cow if she treats you like that again.”
While fighting fire with fire may seem logical in the heat of the moment, retaliation rarely resolves concerns in relationships. Clever comebacks only create an ongoing contentious spiral of teasing and hurt.
Mistake 3 – Ignore it and it Will Go Away
Passivity is unhelpful. Shrugging our shoulders, turning our back, or failing to address the issues will not meet the needs of our children. Ignoring our child’s plight will leave her feeling isolated, lonely, and questioning her value as a person.
Here are three strategies to use when your child is being teased:
1. Be Emotionally Available
Kids who have parents that are emotionally available are far more likely to have positive relationships with others (among a multitude of other benefits). Kids whose parents are not emotionally available are more likely to have negative relationships with others.
If your child is being teased, take time to simply be with him or her. Listen. Don’t offer advice. Just be there as an emotionally safe place.
2. Perspective Taking
Chloe and Lilly were best friends and in second grade. Lilly was crying because Chloe had hit her. After her mother took some time to be emotionally available, Lilly calmed down. Her mother asked why Chloe hit her. Lilly replied, “I don’t know.”
Her mother then said, “Let’s do a little experiment. I want you to pretend that you’re Chloe. Imagine I asked you, as Chloe, why you hit Lilly. What would you say to me if you were Chloe and I asked you that?”
Sheepishly Lilly replied, “That Lilly was teasing me about how she could see my undies.”
Through perspective taking, parents can gain insight into how their children feel. They can also develop the skill of perspective taking in their children to discover other important aspects of relationships in the school yard that their children may be less willing to share through typical questioning.
3. Strategise Together
When teasing is creating distress, children need parents who are available, and who want to help. But helping too much may not allow our children to develop important relationship skills. We may also undermine their decision making development.
It can be helpful to offer reassurance, and then invite your child to consider useful solutions. Often the answers are inside them, and will come out if they know we, as parents, are available to them.
Kindness, patience, and invitations to be friends are often far more effective in restoring friendship than aggressive practices, and as we strategies it will be useful to guide our children toward these types of mutually beneficial responses.
When individuals hear the term family they generally think about their parents and their siblings. Others will make sure that they include their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins within that mix as well. But, what is very important to remember is that these are not the only individuals that must be included when someone thinks about the word family. What about individuals that do not have any close living relatives? Does that mean that they are without any family? It really depends on how that term is defined. The rest of this article will examine a few common ways of looking at the word family in order to determine who really does make up your family. You may be amazed at just how many family members you really do have.
First, and foremost, it is very important to take the time to consider what your family does for you. Many people will tell you that their family is a support for them. They can rely on the members of their family when they are having a rough time, or they are struggling and need something. So, if you consider this a very important aspect of family you may want to spend some time thinking about the individuals around you that you may turn to for support. How often do you call on them when you need something? Are they really reliable for you? Would you consider this person a member of your family? Maybe this person is really there for you much more than someone in your immediate family. This may mean the world to you.
Next, many people will tell you that they can talk to their family members and tell them all of their problems and concerns. They know that this information will not be shared with others and their privacy will be respected at all costs. Now, do you have any friends that you can talk to in the same manner? Do you tell these individuals more than you tell your own, immediate family members? Would you consider this person a part of your family?
Finally, take some time to think about what you actually do for your family members. Are you there for them when they are struggling? Do you go out of your way in order to help them and keep them safe? Do you listen to their problems and keep the things that they tell you very close to you? Do you have friends that you would do the same things for? These individuals may be closer to you than many of your family members.
It can be very difficult for some individuals to feel like they have a family to turn to if they are an only child, or their loved ones have passed away. However, this article has shown that everyone has a family that will love and support them if they look hard enough. The only thing that really matters is the way that the term family is defined. Therefore, it may only be necessary to change the way that this word is defined in order to identify the members in your family.
In today’s society, it is more important than ever to encourage the family bond. The morals and values of the previous generations are disappearing at an alarming rate, producing a culture that our ancestors would find horrifying. The children of present day are exposed to a number of temptations and evils that even parents would never have imagined in their youth. As such, it is integral that the family system be strong enough to protect our young people and preserve the principles we deem necessary to live a wholesome and valuable existence. For any family, the best place to start strengthening these connections is in the home.
In keeping our family united, our house must be a home; a place where we want to return at the end of each day. A home should be a place that provides unparalleled comfort and warmth and almost draws us into it. This does not mean that we have to invest a fortune in our residence, but we must ensure the each member of the family can fulfill their basic needs and, at least, some of their desires there. Creating a clean, comfortable and entertaining environment is key. We must consider the personalities and preferences of each member of the family in building a place that everyone will consider their refuge from the outside world.
In addition to the home as a very important part of the family bond, the communication within the home is also important. The spoken word can serve a number of purposes in our relationships. From entertainment to guidance, speaking to one another is invaluable. By scheduling regular activities that are conducive to conversation, from nightly dinners to weekend car trips, we can learn more about one another as individuals, communicate our family history and provide hours of entertainment for everyone. Time after time, it has been proven that communication is one of the most vital components of high-quality relationships, whether they are partners, parent-child or child-child.
Another excellent tactic for encouraging family togetherness and creating an attractive home environment is to make the home welcoming and invite others into it. Socialization is an innate human need, but is especially important for providing children with variety and excitement. Entertaining within our home provides a number of benefits. Most notably, it gives the opportunity to monitor what is taking place and have control over what we and our children are exposed to. Additionally, our family is able to process our own behavior and that of our guests in the moment, when such discussion will have the most impact and pertinence.
It is encouraging to know that we do not have to go to extremes to keep our family unit intact. By taking the initiative to create a home that is inviting to all and considering each family member’s preferences in doing so, we can form a basis for family togetherness. Then, we can utilize this environment to encourage the values and morals that we want our children to live by. And, all the while, we can take comfort in the knowledge that we have built a home and a family we can take pride in.
Those of us who find ourselves in lengthy relationships also tend to find ourselves in somewhat of a “rut”. We forget the times when we could not wait to see our partner, relished those little things like walks in the park and found joy in just looking into one another’s eyes. It is these seemingly menial things that led us to where we are today, but we too often neglect to keep such things alive in our relationship.
It is important to recognize the small things that keep our interest, and our love, focused on our partner. If we lose sight of these minute, yet meaningful, aspects of our relationship, we may find ourselves separated further than ever before. Keeping the spark in our relationships is not a science, but a matter of listening to our hearts. There are quite a few tactics for maintaining that fiery passion, but a few of these are essential to a happy, healthy bond.
It’s no secret that people change over time, no matter how self-aware and secure they may be. So, it is our job as life partners to be attuned to the transformations our partners are going through. It is also our job as spouses to notice when our partner’s attitude or behavior changes. This is a time when we must talk to our partner about what brought-about the difference. We should maintain on-going communication and give one another opportunities to talk about the things that are going on in our lives. Talking is invaluable to a relationship, whether it is a serious discussion or seemingly meaningless chatter.
Another important element in maintaining relationship stability is setting-aside time to be together. With the hectic lives we all live, between our jobs, our children and community activities, we sometimes neglect one another. We must schedule a time, at least once a week, to spend solely as a couple. It is important to make this “alone time” for ourselves, without the distractions of our children or other family members. Whether it is a meal or a movie, it needs to be a period of togetherness.
Taking this one-on-one time another step further, it is also integral that couples make it a priority to “get away from it all” every once in a while. At least yearly, partners need to leave the stress of the bills, soccer practices and the PTA behind for a little get-away. It does not have to be a spectacular vacation in order to be a valuable experience. A weekend camping trip or one night at a bed and breakfast can work wonders for a relationship.
In order to avoid stagnancy in a relationship, we must recall the things that brought us together in the past. Remembering how much it meant to our partner the time we set-up a picnic lunch and recreating that day can bring back the passion of days gone by. Being in-tune with one another, communicating and working together to keep the love as fresh as the day we came together is an exceptional thing, yet not difficult.
We all live hectic, busy lives between our jobs, our homes and our hobbies. We seem to give all of our time to these tasks, often wishing there were more hours in the day. We all know that isn’t possible, so we must make our family a priority in our daily schedule regardless of the other duties in our lives. There are a number of simple strategies we can use to do this without sacrificing the chores we are obligated to complete.
First and foremost, we need to establish a schedule in our household. We must set regular meal times, during which we can gather with our family to prepare and eat the food. This gives everyone in the family a time to share about their day and build close, strong relationships. We also need to define periods of one-on-one time between each parent and each child, as well as between children.
These time periods can be utilized for everything from homework and studying to grocery shopping and running errands. No matter what the activity, the important thing is that we are spending quality time with one another.
Next, we need to involve our family members in as many of our extracurricular activities as possible. This is as important for parents as for the children, in that it provides a sense of unity and support for all. For example, if we spend time volunteering at our local homeless shelter, we should bring our family along to help out. Similarly, if our child is actively involved in sports, our entire family should be present to cheer them on. Just think, if the activity is important enough for us to give our time to, then it should also be just as important to everyone in the family.
Finally, we need to set limits on the time we spend outside the home, even at work. This is especially true when putting-in extra hours is not a necessity for keeping our job or for financial reasons. We must recognize the inherent value of being present for our family, even if we are simply at home to prepare our children a snack when they arrive home from school. Studies show that a parent’s presence in home, in and of itself, provides children with a sense of security and stability within their living environment.
We all must, obviously, maintain employment in order to provide for family. In addition, it is also important for each member of the family to have their share of private time. However, making ourselves available to our family by involving them in our outside activities, scheduling time with them and making our time at home a priority, will have a positive impact on our relationships for years to come.