In order to heal from the past we can spend a lot of time in counseling focusing on dysfunction in families or patterns in unhealthy families. Sometimes we forget to think about what a healthy family looks like.
Here are some goals you can aim for to make sure you a creating a healthy environment for you kids to grow up in.
- Sense of worth/self-esteem – home should be a place where kids know they will be encouraged to be themselves and cherished for those same characteristics
- Sense of security/productivity – home should be safe. Kids should be able to exhale when they walk through the doors. If school was stressful or friends were mean there should be something about going home that they look forward to.
- Sense of intimacy/relatedness – home should be a place where kids are known. They should be able to let their guard down and also see their parents real self as well.
- Sense of structure – Kids are good at making us think they DON’T want boundaries but they actually crave this structure because of the safety boundaries create. Make sure they know where the limits are.
- Sense of responsibility – Kids want to be a part of the team that is your family. Give them a role that they can be proud of.
- Need for challenge and stimulation – If kids aren’t hearing “You can do it” from someone they will probably believe they can’t. There is a difference between pushing kids for more and shaming them about their current behavior.
- Affirmation – The home should be a place where not only the kids but also the adults know that it is okay to make mistakes and everyone is given permission to be human.
- Spiritual grounding – Eventually members of the family will have to make their own choices about what they believe but its important for kids to get some sort of spiritual direction from their parents to begin this journey.
- Unconditional Love – A parent that NEEDS something from their child is harming the child. Kids must know that no matter what their parent loves them.
- Autonomy/Separateness – Kids need to know that they don’t have to be a cookie cutter version of their parents in order to be accepted. While being connected to the family will bring them identity, so will the things that make them stand out.
- Fun – Don’t forget to let loose and enjoy time together!