Inside: Soccer practice, music lessons, sleepovers, and homework, it’s hard to create strong families when everyone is pulled a thousand directions. Here are three resources that will help you connect with your family in a more meaningful way. This post contains affiliate links.
My little family is being pulled in twelve directions.
No longer are weekends spent at home painting, and baking, and snuggling on the couch.
Now my kids have baseball games and scout meetings and sleepovers at friends’ houses…all things that take them away from us and from our home.
And since they’re getting older, they’re searching Google for school projects and know what YouTube is, and *all* their friends have phones.
Which means not only are they being influenced less by my husband and I and our family values, they’re now being influenced even more by their peers, the internet, and other adults in their lives.
If we’re lucky, those influences will continue to be positive ones that encourage our kids to be the best versions of themselves.
But to balance out these other influences and to ensure our children know our family is home base, our family is their safe zone, and our family is a place to reconnect and feel good about themselves, we have focused more on creating a strong family identity.
What is a strong family identity?
A strong family identity lets our kids know who we are as a five-some, what we value, and reminds them we enjoy being together.
A strong family identity is formed when:
- our kids know our family’s values and what qualities we love and admire most about them,
- our kids know our rules, our boundaries, and our limits,
- we create lasting memories, funny stories and inside jokes,
- we start and continue traditions and rituals,
- we know our kids’ dreams, fears, and their crush’s name, gulp,
- our kids enjoy spending time with each other, with us, and at our home,
- we stop to enjoy and celebrate the big and small moments of their childhood,
- we’re pulled closer together emotionally even if we’re not with each other all the time.
Do you want all of this for your family too but don’t know where to start?
There are three parenting books that are must-reads for any family who wants to build strong families.
These books encourage us to build tighter knit, mentally strong families that feel safe.
Want to get started right now? You can use these 11 ideas to start building a stronger family identity.
#1 Parenting Book to Build a Stronger Family Identity:
The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler is one of those all-encompassing, how-to-create-an-awesome-family-books.
His secret sauce is turning to experts in their respected fields and adapting their knowledge and information to make our families even stronger.
And he gives us advice we can implement right now without making us feel guilty. His main theme throughout the book is a strong family connection is “about coming together as a family whenever you have the time.”
The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Tell Your Family History, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
He covers everything from family dinners to allowances to helping your kids fight fair.
Why should we all make the time to build a stronger family identity?
Feiler points out that a healthy, strong, connected family is “the group that’s most important to identity, to our self-esteem, to our capacity to love, and to our ability to be satisfied in our lives.”
#2 Parenting Book for Creating Strong Families:
The most important part of building strong families is to spend time together.
But how do we make the time to spend with our kids when life is so busy?
How do we slow down everything else that’s going on to ensure we make time for the important stuff?
And how do we make our kids grow up a little slower so we can enjoy their childhoods with them?
For that, I turned to Bringing Up GEEKs by Marybeth Hicks. As a kid, being a geek had such negative connotations. But for Hicks, “Geek” stands for Genuine, Enthusiastic, Empowered Kid.
Bringing Up Geeks: How to Protect Your Kid’s Childhood in a Grow-Up-Too-Fast World
This book encourages parents to raise kids who are “wholly themselves,” free to explore things that interest them without worrying if they’re “too cool” for it.
Hicks gives parents ideas to help our children develop intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually while they’re protected from growing up too fast.
And that gives us more quality time to spend with our kids. It gives us intentional family time.
And it gives our kids a slower childhood which encourages them to be kids who want to hang out with their Mom and Dad longer.
#3 Parenting Book to Help Us Really Connect with Our Kids:
So we’re spending more time with our kids, but how do we make sure it’s quality time?
How do we ensure when we connect with our kids, we’re really reaching them?
I used Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages of Children to determine if what I’m offering my children as a means to connect with them emotionally is really what they want and need from me.
Because even if I feel connected to my kids, I want to ensure they feel connected to me and know with every fiber of their beings just how much I love and adore them.
And I want to entice them to want to spend more time together.
As Chapman points out, “Children receive love emotionally, but because they are all different, we must pay attention to their individual needs. We must learn to speak our children’s [love] language if we want them to feel loved.”
The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively
What is your child’s love language? Quality time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, or Physical Touch?
I really hadn’t ever thought about it before and I had mistakenly assumed they needed what I needed to feel loved.
But since my kids are different, they need different things from me.
Not sure how to figure out your child’s love language so you can feel emotionally connected to them? Have them take this kid-friendly online quiz to find out.
We might not paint together anymore or blow bubbles in the backyard, but we still purposefully take the time to connect with our kids.
We work hard to show them family time is quality time and it’s something we all highly value.
And more importantly, we make sure our kids want to spend time together as a family.
Even if that means watching YouTube videos with them and having meaningful conversations as we tuck them in about why they like their crush.
Soumi Das Chatterjee
I totally agree with this. Even I encourage my 4 year old to have fun with gizmo, but spend some quality time with us. Want her to maintain her individual identity along with learning.
Keep up the good work!