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5 Tips for Changing Family Dynamics

Are you tired of the same old stories of surviving your years of parenting? We're just supposed to hang on until they're grown and can be out on their own, hope they don't hate us, and then desperately wish their little years back while we wait out the rest of our years without purpose?

I'm going to pass on that vision, friends. I don't know about you. I'm working toward years of family interactions that I will store in my heart as treasures and investment in a lifetime of loving relationships.

We were beyond blessed to have a different vision put before us as kids. One where parents love beingi with their children, where children honor their parents, and where these years together in our home can be full of joy and training that lasts us a lifetime. Lots of imperfection, plenty of chaos, nobody getting it all "right," but a whole lot of love covering our shortcomings as we work on growing together.

Here are five things we have found that can change the family story.

Tip #1 - Have a vision

A family you want to spend time with will never just happen. It will be intentional work! Spend some time asking yourself what you want your family to look like next year, in five years, in ten? What do you want your days to look like? Your interactions? How would you be handling conflict or showing affection?

When we don't have an intentional destination, we're 100% to arrive at a place we weren't planning to be.

Tip #2 - Commit to communication

When you are tired. When you are frustrated. When you don't have any words left. When you want to call it a day. When work was difficult. When you really need to do something else. Commit to taking the minutes to make sure your words and feelings were clear, that children heard the truth and not their interpretation of what was said, and that everyone leaves the conversation heard.

"The key ingredient in family communication is listening, really listening.

– Zig Ziglar

Tip #3 - Listen when it wasn't said well

We have a tendency to dismiss things when we don't like the way they were said to us. A child speaking disrespectfully can still tell you something you need to hear. Sure, the disrespect needs to be addressed, but that's a symptom, not a root. If we will listen to the emotional, even hurtful, hard to hear words of those we live the closest to, we will learn the most important truths about ourselves, our true priorities, and our blind spots. And that's when relationships take on a whole new level of safety and trust.

Tip #4 - Lead with humility

There is not a quality in the world that will draw a family together like humility. Don't take yourself too seriously. Don't demand attention, respect, or obedience. Earn it. With your love, your care, your life lived with character and wisdom. Show that you love and lead well and you will find yourself consistently followed.

Tip #5 - There can never be too much love

There is no way to max out how much love we need. Words, hugs, notes, laughter, time, gifts, meeting needs, caring about interests and problems. Express love all day, every day. If that hasn't been your normal, start growing that muscle! I keep meaning to count the "I love you's" or hugs I hear and see inside our walls on any given day. It's a lot. And those constant affirmations add up over time to a whole lot of confidence in each other to carry us through the harder moments and doubts.

If you dream of something different in your home that what you had growing up or what you have seen, know that the things you dream of are more than possible.

We want to invite you to pull up a seat at our table. It's a noisy one and sometimes a little chaotic, but there's a lot of love, and we believe wholeheartedly in your ability as a parent to lead with love, wisdom, and confidence. Learn more about a New Way to Look at Parenting in our upcoming workshop!

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