Building strong family and relationships
Storyberries offers free children's books and parenting suggestions for building healthy relationships, starting with the family.
For most of us, the family is our main community. It is the nucleus from which our first affectionate relationships begin, and where we learn how to live in the world. As a family we form a shared understanding of reality, develop our beliefs, and experience our first human relationships. The relationships we have determine much of our future lives. It feels good to be part of a warm, loving, family.
Virginia Satir believed that people carry all the resources they need for positive growth and development, and that families are systems wherein everyone and everything is impacted by everyone and everything else. The relationships we have with our children, parents and siblings affect both our self-esteem and the overall health of the family. That is why it is good to review our family relationships and seek to make them as healthy as possible.
Strong families grow from love, security, connection and healthy communication. They also require some rules and routines. We need families in which mutual appreciation is both valued and demonstrated, through love and the authentic recognition of others.
Storyberries offers free children’s books and parenting suggestions for encouraging strong family ties and healthy relationships:
Making genuine connectionsBe interested in the lives of your family members: ask them about their day, take time to attend their events, follow up on their problems.
Recognize the different talents and abilities of each personCelebrate and foster their strengths. For example, if you praise and thank your teenager for listening to a younger brother reading a story, he will begin to see himself as helpful and will attend to him more the next time.
Share family stories and memoriesStorytelling helps children appreciate things that are not obvious, or that have been forgotten.
Visit other family members to stay connectedFor example, reaching out to grandparents offers them a sense of loyalty to all members of their family.
Strengthen family relationships by dedicating one day a week to do things togetherHow about going for a walk, seeing a movie, or grabbing an ice cream? Having special family time fosters a sense of unity in children. They also learn that staying together can be very useful in the face of adversity.
Have a laugh!Laughing as a family is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Laughter is the best medicine. Keeping a good mood, even in the face of difficulties, teaches your little ones to keep a positive attitude.
Reinforce the value of forgivenessEvery family should have an open space to apologize and accept apologies when necessary. When parents maturely face the disappointments of other relatives, children include this behavior in their memories and are likely to repeat it. There is no family without problems; learning comes when we are willing to face our problems.When your child is doing well or doing a good deed, acknowledge it, by mentioning what they did well and why you appreciate it.
Have special times with each childIf there are siblings, seek to have a meaningful moment with each one. To strengthen the family ties we need to know each other well. Children value it a lot when they have moments alone with their mum or dad; these are really significant moments. Little children find it difficult to abstract information, therefore they need you to tell them what you feel about them.
Ask a family member to propose a project that you can work on as a team to achieve a goalFor example, if one of your children wants to go somewhere in particular, let them distribute tasks to each member of the family and support them in fulfilling their goal. Strongest families are those that work together.
Maintain family standardsChildren need care that is both consistent and fair. In this way, they understand that when parents insist on something, it is not for lack of love, but their action is necessary and corresponds with the family’s values.
Grandma on a Windy BeachA beautiful and wonderfully illustrated story about the very special relationship between a little girl and her Grandmother. Perfect for highlighting the value of strong family ties and inter-generational love.
Baby’s First Family PhotoA beautifully illustrated picture book telling the story of a family getting ready to have their photo taken together to celebrate the arrival of the new baby. Join them as they dress up in their best clothes.
The LetterAll families have conflicts and children sometimes see their parents arguing. In this very thoughtful story, Julia decides to write a letter to her parents explaining how she feels. A great story for discussing difficult issues like family breakup, and for thinking about ways to resolve conflicts peacefully.
Article by Luzmery M. Romero Gamboa and Fleur Rodgers
Luzmery works in the area of clinical psychology as a psychotherapist for children, adolescents and families. Since 2016, she has run a Psychological Center in Venezuela called Psicoluz. She offers workshop facilitations to parents, is involved in recreational activities for children, and has been working as a freelancer since 2017 performing online psychotherapy.
Fleur is a meditation teacher in France and uses a compassion and loving-kindness based approach to meditation and slow-minded living. Fleur posts regularly to Instagram @rodgers.fleur . She has two children, is a qualified teacher in adult education and is the founder of Timeouttobreathe.com