This article collects the best thoughts on the question “what is family bonding” with practical tips and actions.
It can be hard to find time to spend with family, even though we all agree it is the most important thing.
We juggle between the demands of our career, responsibility, exercise, sleep, housework, schoolwork, and a million other things.
We cut back on family time because family is often the most forgiving and – there is not much ROI (return on investment) on time spent on family.
There can be no greater deception than this line of thinking.
Research has shown that a strong family bond creates a beneficial psychological resource, especially in times of need. Family really is your last line of defense with supplies of mental ammunition.
This article explores how family bonding can be beneficial, what makes a good family bonding, and some practical ideas and activities.
What is Family bonding?
According to studies, family bonding reflects the idea of the family as a place of security and togetherness in a world of threats that can compromise family values and family cohesion.
Bonding can be in the form of activities such as watching a movie together, cuddling, snuggling, attending your kid’s games in school, having a meal together, or surprising your partner with dinner dates.
Family bonding is not just about what you do, but how you do it.
And, it doesn’t have to be all serious and traditional – see how families are using Tik Tok to bond during the pandemic from CNN.
8 Awesome Benefits Of Family Bonding
There are many benefits of spending quality time together with your family. A few of these are obvious, while some might surprise you.
#1. Increased Self-Esteem And Confidence:
When children know that they are loved and accepted unconditionally by their family, it gives them a strong foundation on to build their self-esteem and confidence. This can help them weather the storms of life with greater resilience. For instance, tennis champion Serena Williams has spoken about how her close-knit family has helped her throughout her career.
#2. Better Personality:
A supportive and close-knit family can help children develop a better personality. According to Dr. Carl Pickhardt, author of “The Family Crucible”, children from such families are more likely to be well-adjusted and have strong social skills. They know how to handle relationships better and are more likely to be successful in their careers.
#3. Improved Mental Health:
Family bonding has been linked with improved mental health in children and adults. According to a study published in the journal “Pediatrics”, teens who had strong family bonds were less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
Another study published in the “Journal of Marriage and Family” found that adults who reported higher levels of family support were less likely to experience symptoms of depression.
#4. Greater Happiness:
When families spend quality family bonding time together, it leads to increased happiness for all members. A study published in the “Journal of Positive Psychology” found that families who had dinner together at least five times a week were happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who didn’t.
Another study found that couples who go on a family vacation together reported higher levels of satisfaction with their relationship.
#5. Enhanced Communication Skills:
When family members spend time together, it gives them an opportunity to communicate with each other. This can help improve communication skills and make it easier to resolve conflicts. For instance, families who play games together can learn how to better express their feelings and thoughts in a non-threatening way.
#6. Greater Sense Of Belonging:
Family bonding can help children and adults feel a greater sense of belonging. When we feel like we belong to a group, it enhances our self-esteem and makes us feel good about ourselves.
According to Dr. Elaine Aron, author of “The Highly Sensitive Person”, people who have a strong sense of belonging are happier and more mentally and physically healthy.
#7. Increased Resilience:
When children feel like they have a close-knit family to rely on, it gives them increased resilience. They know that they can always turn to their family for support, no matter what happens. This can help them cope with difficult situations and make them more likely to succeed in life.
#8. Greater Life Satisfaction:
When we have strong family bonds, it leads to greater life satisfaction. According to a study published in the journal “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin”, people who reported higher levels of family support were more satisfied with their lives.
Another study found that adults who had close relationships with their parents were more likely to be satisfied with their lives overall.
Criteria For Conducive Family Bonding
Family bonding is essential for children and adults alike.
And, as we said, how you do it is more important than what you do.
Here are three simple rules to follow.
#1. Focus – try not to multi-task
Multi-tasking is multi-failing.
I know. Sometimes, you don’t have a choice.
But, the thing is your kids don’t need a lot of your time.
In fact, studies have shown that for kids, quality time trumps quantity.
So avoid multi-tasking and give your kids shorts bursts of your total and complete attention.
#2. Connect – try not to patronize
This means try not to teach all the time; relate with them instead.
Yes, it is important that you teach your kids useful knowledge. But, make time for family bonding. Notice the word bonding, not coaching.
Taking the perspective of your kids or family can be helpful when you lower your stance and see the world through their eyes.
This will also help you to be less judgemental or critical. Think: you are probably not that great at your kids’ age.
#3. Communicate – don’t yell
Studies have shown that yelling and harsh verbal discipline can have similar negative effects to corporal punishment. The likelihood of behavioral problems in children who are constantly yelled at is higher.
10 Simple Family Bonding Activities
1. Have regular family dinners.
2. Make time for weekly family meetings.
3. Play family games together.
4. Take vacations and weekend trips together.
5. Do chores together as a family.
6. Exercise and eat healthy meals together.
7. Spend at least 30 minutes every day talking with your spouse.
8. Have a weekly “date night” with your spouse.
9. Attend your child’s school functions and sporting events.
10. Pray together as a family.
#1. Have regular family dinners.
Yes, I understand what it’s like during the lockdown.
My wife and I constantly fight. And, I remember thinking how much I miss working late and having to eat dinner by myself.
Pre-pandemic research has shown that families who have regular family dinners are more likely to have stronger relationships.
So for now, you just have to remember that a family dinner is supposed to be a time for everyone to connect and catch up with each other’s lives.
#2. Make time for weekly family meetings.
Family meetings are a great way to have a quality family time and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
They also give each family member a chance to share their thoughts and feelings about what’s going on in the household. Family meetings can help prevent misunderstandings and conflict.
Just don’t make them suck.
Consider allowing letting one another take turns, drive the meetings, and set the agenda.
#3. Play family games together.
Family game night is a great way to have some fun while also bonding with each other. Spending time playing games can help teach children about cooperation, communication, and problem-solving. They’re also a great way to reduce stress and just relax together as a family.
One of my favorite family games is “Candyland”. My kids love it because it’s a very easy game to learn and they always get excited when they get to the “Candy Castle”. We also like playing “Monopoly” and “Scrabble”. These games are great for teaching kids about counting money and basic math skills. They’re also fun for adults because they can be quite challenging.
#4. Take vacations and weekend trips together.
Vacations and trips give families a chance to explore new places and create special memories together. They’re also a great way to create s stronger bond and learn more about each other’s interests.
Make it a point to connect with nature once in a while. It makes your family happier. For example, go for a walk, picnic, or swim in a river. Just have quality family time while embracing nature. Today, some people may it to have a digital detox, where you break away from the endless notifications and updates (I sometimes will just switch on the focus mode).
#5. Do chores together as a family.
You might have heard that women find men sexiest when they do housework.
I can personally tell you that my wife ain’t one of those ladies.
We are lucky to have a maid to do it for us in Hong Kong. But, I always train my 3-year-old daughter to help out.
In fact, doing chores together can teach children the importance of teamwork and responsibility. It can also be a fun way to bond with each other while getting some work done around the house.
Research has shown that doing chores together can help improve communication and problem-solving skills within families. It can also help to create a sense of cooperation and shared purpose.
#6. Exercise and eat healthy meals together.
Exercising and eating healthy meals are both important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But did you know that they can also help improve family relationships? Families who exercise and eat healthy meals together are more likely to have stronger bonds with each other.
The Obamas are well-known for being active together. They would often go on bike rides, play basketball, or go for walks around the neighborhood. The Kennedy family was also known for their healthy family meal habits. They would often cook together and eat healthy meals.
#7. Spend at least 30 minutes every day talking with your spouse.
Couples who spend time talking with each other every day are more likely to have stronger relationships. Prioritize family time! Talking allows couples to catch up with each other’s lives and stay connected. It also gives them a chance to resolve any conflicts that may arise.
Famous couples like Barack and Michelle Obama or Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are known for their close relationship. These couples are always seen together, and they are known for taking the time to talk with each other every day. This helps them stay connected and resolve any conflicts that may arise.
#8. Have a weekly “date night” with your spouse.
Date nights are a great way for couples to reconnect and have some quality time together. They can also help reduce stress and keep the spark alive in relationships.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé have been married for over 10 years and they still make time for weekly date nights. They reportedly go out to dinner or see a movie together to keep the spark alive.
Prince William and Kate Middleton are another example of a couple who make time for weekly date nights. In fact, they have made it a priority to have at least one night every week where they can go out and spend time together without the kids.
So if you want to keep your relationship strong, make sure to schedule in some quality time with your partner on a regular basis.
#9. Attend your child’s school functions and sporting events.
Attending your child’s school functions and sporting events is a great way to support them and show them that you care. It’s also a great opportunity to bond with your child and other members of the family.
You can get involved with your child’s school activities to help them feel better connected.
The true test will come when you have competing priorities such as a client meeting or a conference.
#10. Pray together as a family.
Praying together as a family is a great way to connect with each other on a deeper level. It can also help families to resolve conflicts and grow closer together. Research has shown that families who pray together have stronger relationships.
My personal favorite is the Christian Serenity Prayer.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Amen.”
This prayer has helped my family through some tough times and we always come out stronger on the other side.
Family bonding is not only beneficial but also essential for your family.
It can help improve self-esteem, communication skills, mental health, and overall life satisfaction.
This article covers the benefits, criteria, and some simple tips.
Let me know what strategy has worked for you and what is the biggest obstacle?