Building positive family relationships: tips
The ordinary, everyday things that families do together can help build and sustain strong relationships with teenagers. These tips might help you and your family:
- Regular family meals are a great chance for everyone to chat about their day, or about interesting stuff that’s going on or coming up. If you encourage everyone to have a say, no-one will feel they’re being put on the spot to talk. Also, many families find that meals are more enjoyable when the TV isn’t invited!
- Try setting aside time for fun family outings – you could all take turns choosing activities. A relaxing holiday or weekend away together as a family can also build togetherness. Our article on teenagers and free time has more ideas for things you can do as a family.
- One-on-one time with your child gives you the chance to stay connected and enjoy each other’s company. It can also be a chance to share thoughts and feelings. If you can, try to find opportunities for each parent to have this time with your child.
- Celebrate your child’s accomplishments, share his disappointments, and show interest in his hobbies. You don’t have to make a big deal of this – sometimes it’s just a matter of showing up to watch your child play sport or music, or giving him a lift to extracurricular activities.
- Family traditions, routines and rituals can help you and your child set aside regular dates and special times. For example, you might have a movie night together, a favorite meal or cooking session on a particular night, a family games afternoon or an evening walk together.
- Agreed household responsibilities give kids of all ages the sense that they’re making an important contribution to family life. These could be things like chores, shopping or helping older or younger members of the family.
- Limits and consequences give teenagers a sense of security, structure and predictability. Agreed-on rules help your child know what standards apply in your family, and what will happen if she pushes the boundaries.
- Have family meetings to solve problems. These give everyone a chance to be heard and help work out a solution that everyone is part of.