I recently asked my 3 grown-up children what they enjoyed most when they were growing up. Son No 1 said “I really liked how we would have those family days on the weekend. We always did fun stuff together.”
Son No 2 said, “I always liked the times we sat around the dinner table and just talked about all sorts of things. In fact I still really enjoy that.”
Baby Daughter said, “I have always loved our family vacations. It’s always so exciting to go somewhere new together. I like the excitement of knowing we are going and then talking about it for months and planning how we are going to have fun together. Those vacations felt like the lasted for months because of how much we talked about it before we went.”
The interesting thing for me about this was that as empty nesters with grown up children, we are still doing these things. We still have family days, now they are more likely once a month rather than once a week, and now they include grandchildren as well.
We still have family dinner together, every Wednesday night and no-one ever misses it even when living interstate Son No 2 would FaceTime us and he would be part of the conversation.
We still go on family holidays together for one week every year. Over the years we have been to all sorts of places in Australia and overseas together and our adventures frequently come up in our conversations many years later.
As couples and families we have a unique opportunity to create meaningful rituauals that bond us together, these give us a sense of belonging and help us feel valued, worthy, secure and safe. When you make decisions together, it strengthens family relationships, increases family support and makes family life more fun. In fact, families who talk and plan together are more successful and happier than families who don't.
Creating shared meaning, shared stories and shared expectations helps increase understanding of our own and others needs. Here are some suggestions you can make for creating everyday rituals that are meaningful and that will bring you closer together:
It's exciting to be a part of a family that hangs together and enjoys one another. It’s thrilling to know that your adult children prioritise and want to spend time with you. It’s gratifying to watch your children create rituals of connection with their partners and children. You can think of your rituals as strategies that are unique to your family to help keep you close and interacting with each other in positive and healthy ways for life.
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