Note: This article contains affiliate links (hyperlinks, widgets, or through images), which means I receive compensation if you purchase a product through them. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. Visit my disclosure page for more information.
One simple way to create a happy family is to arrange family adventures. These can range from a trip to Disney to a fun-filled visit to a coastal town, state park, or mountain retreat. Regardless of the simplicity or sophistication of your family vacations, getting away from daily routines gives everyone an opportunity to bond in a novel environment.
Sometimes words scribbled in a journal don’t do justice to the fun of a family picnic or a family vacation, but pictures can tell the story well. What’s more, you can take good family photos on your own, learning how to do it well with guides online. You don’t need to go to a studio to take excellent family pictures, nor do you need to hire a professional photographer to help you figure out the most natural poses.
Here are some more ideas on how to create joyful family memories and happy family life:
Be Open to Staying Humble
Familial conflict is often due to pride. And pride, as the old saw goes, can lead to a fall. Naturally, when we’re in pride, we’re the last person to know about it. Instead, we think we’re right and everyone else is hopelessly wrong.
Pride is harmful in all social clusters, but it can be particularly devastating in families, causing all sorts of tragedies, from parents and children refusing to speak to each other for years to siblings refusing to make up after a quarrel during the course of their lives.
The only way to heal these psychological wounds is being willing to be the first to apologize or being willing to accept a family member’s apology.
Practice Patience and Kindness
We are all changing all the time. A strongly-held conviction may embarrass us tomorrow. Words spoken in anger or actions taken in haste are sources of future regret.
In families, we sometimes clearly see that someone is heading in the wrong direction, but nothing we say appears to get through to them. Sometimes we have to let go and let people learn the hard lessons of life for themselves. Our wisdom can’t always be transferred to someone unwilling to vicariously learn from our experience.
Sometimes all we can do in difficult situations where our advice and interventions are spurned is to practice patience and give family members the time to figure things out on their own.
Avoid Taking Things Personally
It’s hard not to take things personally when a spouse or child flagrantly breaks a promise or does something hurtful. But often they are fighting inner battles that you know nothing about. If they appear to be acting uncaring, disrespectful, or hurtful, assume it’s not a direct attack or a perverse way of singling you out.
Your children don’t go out of their way to fail to make you look bad. Instead, they are lost in a world of their own—a world of pain and confusion where the only thing that makes sense is to lash out at the people who love them the most.
If, for instance, your child becomes a heroin addict, you might feel that it’s a way to get back at you for not spending more quality time with them when they were younger because you were so busy getting ahead in your career. But, in fact, your parenting style may have nothing to do with their existential angst and feeling that life is absurd.
Acknowledge That Value Differences Will Arise
Values play a huge role in families.
A hardworking, studious parent who put themselves through school and then rises to the top of their career might be appalled to discover their child prefers to play sports and watch ESPN most of the time. While you might prize intellectual vigor, they believe physical strength and prowess is all that matters. It’s a conflict of values.
As a parent, you can, of course, express your preference, but if you insist that your child take a more mature attitude to the challenges of life, then you are only going to increase their resistance.
By practicing love, compassion, and patience with the values others in your family embrace, you are setting everyone free to choose their own highest good.
In conclusion, building a beautiful family is not easy, but it is probably one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. By learning more about family dynamics and following your own intuitions, you’ll slowly develop the necessary soft skills to raise a happy, connected family.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.