Just because your kids are raised in a family doesn’t automatically mean they will have a strong sense of family. And when I say sense of family, I mean that your kids grow up to value their family and give it a high priority in their lives.
How does a strong sense of family show itself?
It usually doesn’t until your kids have grown up a bit. But you will see it when your older teens or young adult kids go out of their way to visit family, when they put family gatherings at the top of their priority list, and when they make a point of staying in contact with family around the country.
This strong sense of family doesn’t just happen. You must be intentional about nurturing it. My husband and I were very intentional without even realizing what we were doing, but here’s what we did and in all humility and honesty, I will tell you that it worked! Our kids are all in their 20s and I love seeing how they value their immediate and extended family.
Here’s How You Can Nurture Your Child’s Sense of Family
- Be sure you allow them to be around immediate and extended family as much as possible. If you don’t live close, plan vacations and trips to see them. It’s great to take your kids on beach, theme park and mountain vacations, but don’t forget to visit and spend time with family too. It may not always be convenient, but it is always worthwhile.
Just a side note here: if your extended family does not give your child a healthy experience, then keep those visits short and perhaps look for substitute “family” that will fill the void.
- Make sacrifices to be with family. Let the kids stay up later when family is over or don’t cut the night short to get the kids home in bed. They can always take a nap or go to bed early the next day if they get grumpy. Let them enjoy being with family. It is a treasure they will have for a lifetime.
- Invite the family to be involved in your kids’ activities. Since I’m talking to sports parents, I will speak to that. Be sure everyone gets a game schedule and let them know that your son or daughter would love to have them come watch. When my kids were playing sports, their aunts, uncles and cousins would often come to games, making a point to stick around and see them after or at least catch their eye to let my child know they were there. They have fond memories of one uncle in particular who was a faithful follower.
- Set the Example. If you make a point of placing a strong priority on family, your kids will probably catch that value. When our kids were small, we felt so strongly about having our kids around positive family role models that we moved across the country. Today, my kids claim that was a very smart move and say they are who they are partly because of the family they were raised around.
One of the legacies that my parents gave to me was a very strong sense of family and that is a gift that we are striving to pass on to our kids as well.
Are you the parent of a teen athlete?
Parents of teens often feel frustrated at the health of their communication–or lack of it– with their kids.
Having an athlete in high school is a huge challenge, one that I have been through three times.
That’s why I’ve written an ebook just for parents of teen athletes:
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