Your Family is POWERFUL!!
Cindy Wendorff, District #423 Early Childhood Family Education
Did you know that your family relationships are key to developing kid’s character strengths? These are the strengths they need for school, work and life:
- Being motivated to learn
- Being responsible
- Caring for others
A 2015 study (Search Institute, Mpls. MN) of 1085 parents of children 3-13 years of age from across the United States found that the quality of parent-child relationships is 10 times more powerful than demographics such as:
- Family composition
- Developing quality family relationships is the missing piece in America’s effort to help children succeed. (94).
Here is the good news! Family relationships do not form in a vacuum or in a laboratory. They are shaped by our daily habits, schedules, celebrations and stresses that make up our family life. Families are also part of a larger web of relationships within extended family, friends and neighbors. Where families live; how they spend their time and whom they interact with all affect their family relationships.
Families with strong relationships were found to have:
Parents who were confident in their parenting and comfortable playing with their children.
- Could unplug from technology and distraction
- Participated in activities experiencing nature and outdoors together
- Participated in active, creating, learning and volunteering activities together
Consistent routines, but were also adaptable in the midst of changes.
- Routine gives a dependable rhythm and structure to family life. Without any routine, family life becomes chaotic and unpredictable. Routines are especially important in times of crisis or major transitions. At the same time, there is a need for flexibility and adaptability so family members don’t feel pushed to detach under stress. What a challenge to find that balance!!!
Engagement with the broader community.
- Parents provided exposure to other adults – teachers, coaches, leaders, extended family adults- and modeled appropriate activities.
The study found 20 helpful actions for parents to develop close connections with their kids:
Express Care- Show me that I matter to you
- Be dependable- someone I can trust
- Listen – Really pay attention when we are together
- Believe in me- Make me feel valued
- Show me you enjoy being with me
- Encourage- Acknowledge my efforts
Challenge Growth- Insist I try to improve
- Expect me to do my best
- Hold me accountable – insist I take responsibility for my action
- Help me learn from my mistakes 102
Provide Support – Help me complete tasks
- Guide me through hard situations
- Build my confidence to take charge of my life
- Defend me when I need it
- Set limits to keep me on track
Share Power – Treat me with respect and give me a say
- Respect me – take me seriously and treat me fairly
- Include me in decisions that affect me when appropriate
- Work with me to solve problems
- Create opportunities for me to take action and lead
Expand Possibilities – connect me with people and places in my world
- Inspire me to see possibilities in my future
- Connect me to new ideas, experiences and places to help me grow110
We have a rich reservoir of relational power across the United States and we cannot leave relationship quality to chance. We need to become more intentional in forming , strengthening and sustaining the important relationships in our families!! Let’s focus on our family relationships and increase our power!!