The moment they’re born, your kids demand one hundred percent of your time. From eating and bathing to sleeping and snuggling, you’re their number one consultant.
As they grow — becoming more independent by the day! — your kids will begin to do all of these once parent-led habits on their own.
The good thing?
This means you’ve done your parenting job! Self-reliance is a key indicator of healthy development.
The not so great thing?
Those moments of learning that knitted a close family bond begin to dwindle.
Keeping a strong family bond can prove to be one of the most challenging tasks a parent will face, especially as their child harnesses independence through the pre-teen and teen years.
Why is family bonding important?
Family bonding — no matter the size, shape, or collection of its members — helps solidify love and trust, inspires positive connections in life, promotes healthy communication, makes your child feel respected and heard, and creates overall happiness within the household.
No joke, it truly is one of the most influential aspects of parenting!
So, how do you keep the bond alive as your child pulls away?
Create a family council!
Alright, I admit this sounds … well … “formulaic” or “Stepford” … but the positive influence of a family council is an instrumental bonding tool. By demoting your parental status, while elevating your child to a member, you’re creating a safe space of equality where all voices, opinions, and emotions matter.
Of course, family councils should not only be constructive, but also a place for laughter, sharing, and fun!
How do you achieve these family council goals?
- Start out with the good stuff! Launch your family council by sharing positive, funny, or inspiring moments from the week.
- Choose a creative meeting space. The dining room may be the most logical meeting place, on the other hand mix it up! Try the porch, local park, or even the floor of the living room!
- Create board members. Every meeting should have a new leader and a new recorder. Yes, this means allowing your kiddo to lead. It’s a great way to actively display equality, trust, and respect.
- Have an agenda. Maybe there’s no time to prep an agenda. That’s okay! Make it part of the council-kick-off or always have a go-to agenda ready:
- Share something funny that happened this week
- What happened last week?
- What’s happening this week?
- Any future/holiday planning?
- Stuff to rehash?
- New stuff to discuss?
- Any money issues (especially for school-age kids and teenagers)
- Were there any kind acts towards your family or one that my family showed you?
- Questions and/or comments
- Emphasize working through problems. The main family council goal is to bond and learn. No matter the issue, make sure it’s addressed fully. Showing support through respectful communication and emotional competency will craft your child’s ability to communicate throughout their lives.