Five Tips for Fostering Healthier, Happier Family Relationships

Families are rarely as happy and healthy as the media would have you believe. The truth is, dealing with family members can be difficult, no matter what everyone’s age, or how much you love them.

No one’s family is perfect, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to make things better. If you want to foster healthier, happier relationships with your family members, check out the tips on this list.

Get Help When You Need It

It is important to first assess whether you need a little help. Some family issues are more difficult to handle than others, and if you’re in over your head, you won’t be able to make a change, no matter how dedicated you are.

For example, if your family is dealing with addiction, sharing your experience with a mutual support group can help you come up with ways to make your family closer because of the challenge you are all facing. Therapy can be a great option if your family is dealing with past hurts or unhealthy dynamics.

Even reaching out to a friend for advice can be a great way to tease apart your family relationships. As an outsider looking in, a friend may be able to provide you with advice, and they will definitely help you get frustrations off your chest so you don’t bring them home to your family!

Make Personal and Family Boundaries Clear

Many people make the mistake of thinking that having the best relationship with family members is to be open and say yes to everything. Unfortunately, the opposite is true.

The healthiest, happiest families define their personal boundaries, and they stick to them. Tips for developing and communicating personal boundaries include tuning into your feelings to develop personal boundaries, and then being direct and assertive with family members so they understand your expectations.

Developing boundaries is important if you have small children, and they are equally, if not more, important with older family members. Don’t be afraid to tell a parent that you will no longer be spoken to that way, or your grown child that a common behavior isn’t welcome in your home. Just make sure you do it with kindness and an open heart.

Eat at the Table

Healthy families foster healthy relationships, but they also need healthy bodies! After all, you want your loved ones to be around for as long as possible.

Eating at the table is a great way to make sure your family is eating healthy food, but it goes well beyond that. Additional benefits of eating at the table as a family include:

  • Eating together can mean better grades for younger family members
  • Teenagers get a boost to their mental health
  • Eating together can reduce stress in family members of all ages
  • It’s a quick and easy way to strengthen family bonds

Take Time for Yourself

If you want a healthier, happier family, you probably think you need to focus on your family members. That’s only partially true.

If you want a better relationship with your family, you have to have a healthy, happy relationship with yourself. That means you have to take time for self-care.

Life is busy, and we often equate success and happiness with accomplishments. That causes us to rush around all day, leaving us with very little energy for our families. That in turn means it’s more likely that you’ll lose your patience and say something you don’t mean out of frustration.

Even if it’s just enjoying a quiet cup of coffee by yourself in the morning, self-care rituals can make a world of difference in your family dynamics.

Find Ways to Have Fun

Families that play together, stay together! No matter how old the members of your family are, it’s well-worth everyone’s time to get together and do fun activities. Some ideas include planning fun family outings, playing games, and going on vacation.

However, it can also mean celebrating the little things and finding ways to make chores fun. Whatever you can do to get your family members smiling and laughing means building positive memories that will last a lifetime. When things get hard, everyone will have those positive memories to fall back on.

You don’t have to be content with your current family dynamic. You can wish and hope for better, as long as you understand that the process takes patience. With the ideas on this list, you can foster healthier, happier family relationships for your children, your spouse, and your extended family one step at a time.