A good family
Every parent wants a good family. What does it take to have one?
According to many studies, and after talking with many children, we can fortunately tell you the answer is not too complicated. A good family is based on its values, the values that both father and mother establish as standard for the rest of its members. The first question to ask yourself, therefore, is how long ago did you last talk about this with your spouse. You will likely have to retake the topic if it has been a long time.
A family needs love, open communication, sincerity, responsibility and respect among its members. It has been proven that a spiritual bond can help a lot too. That said, a good family establishes certain policies to be successful. For a start, they are capable of resigning to the word 'I'. Personal goals become conditioned to the family's capability of easing or providing them. If something is not possible at the moment, they accept it and wait. This doesn't mean you acting with mediocrity, it just means growing as a family until time comes to say good bye.
Ask yourself what do you have more arguments about and you soon will see what do you need to take care of. Money? Sit down, make a budget and look for some side incomes if you need to earn more. Lack of affection? Talk over and express what you need to feel each others' affective and sexual needs fulfilled. Do the same with every uncomfortability. Actually, families that enjoy open communication are the less likely to suffer money problems, cheating or forms of familiar violence. Don't forget that, when you got married, you earned the right of forgetting stereotypes and build your own marital reality. Use that right.
Among the stereotypes that are damaging families most these days, we can cite these ones: A man's false need of having an extra bank account to keep some secret savings, an affair to feel any manlier, or going out with the guys to get back home drunk at 4 am. Likewise, women's manipulative trend to withhold sex or other displays of affection to draw his husband's attention to something she didn't like, her false need to go shopping or to the hairdresser twice a week to feel any more sexy or feminine or the old-fashioned stereotype that she just has to be maintained by her husband also damage the relationship. Strong families grow in the grounds of good values. Strong relationships show a man and a woman who are fair sharing duties, responsibilities and a free love that chooses from equal to equal, and not from superiority to inferiority.
A nice family pays
The nice thing about a good family is that it soon becomes the best example of a good family for their children. When kids are babies, it is easy because boys and girls obey a lot, love a lot and, even if they destroy your house playing, they are happy just with being near you. As they grow up, however, some things change and you must be ready for that. When children are around seven, they discover they are independent persons (this is called individualization, check: What is going on with my kids?); when they are around eleven, they undergo puberty. Are you ready for that?
Your family values are the ones that will decide the future of your family. Actually, your children will very likely either reflect what they see at home or do exactly the opposite. How to lead them? Fortunately, it is not that complicated.
For children, it is easier to know what is good and what is not if you establish fair rules and not start by breaking them. Consistency is very important.
The next crucial thing is affection: Your children need to feel your love, not just listen to "I love you"s. That said, you must know that love, for a child, means only giving him or her your time. "Quality time" is useless. He or she needs your hours, not your seconds. So, yes, if you need another job to be able to give more time to your children, then you should grab the newspaper and look for one because it is really that important.
The third important thing about a strong familiar relationship with your children is a spotless honesty. And honesty must be reflected even in the most ridiculous things: Don't tell your children that Santa Claus exists because this is simply not true (you knew it, didn't you?). Don't tell your baby that animal is a "bow, wow" when it is a dog. Contrary to your belief, you will not destroy any child's fantasy by telling the truth and being honest with him or her. You will be building an extraordinarily strong bridge between you, a bridge that you will need a lot later.
Should there be a fourth, it is that children need parents who can listen to them without being judgemental. As your kids grow up, they will see, listen and learn many "bad" things exist. Become the person they will want to ask these things with. Be open about every topic, give advice about it and even joke freely with your children about them. This way, you will see that when your kids start wondering about cheating exams, taking drugs, stealing, masturbating or having sex, it will be you who they will talk these topics about and who will give them your most appropriate advice.
If it is not you, it will be someone else, and you may be the one who regrets it.
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