Most families have at least a few issues they have to work through. As parents, we have to find the right balance of love and guidance. The guidance involves discipline that isn’t always easy to navigate. There are so many things that have the potential to drive a family apart, so what is the glue that keeps them together? Here are a few that have helped me with my three children.
Each of my three children is radically different, so I cannot treat them the same way. When my two older children were younger, I could talk to them sternly if they had done something wrong, but my youngest will burst into tears if you show any anger.
Jess is driven, independent, funny, and tough. Tyler deals only in the moment, he is easygoing, and wants to do a million interesting things, Kate is kind, quiet, wise, and anxious. I have learned that I have to understand their differences and allow them to find what makes them happy.
Part of being a family is being able to forgive each other. When Jess was a teen, she and I fought a lot. We were so angry at each other. Now, we have reconnected, and apologized for not understanding each other.
We laugh a lot as a family. We see the humor in everything, and we laugh until we cry. It is so bad that if we are out in public, we try to control ourselves, but inevitably we are laughing like fools. Laughter makes you happy, and it makes memories.
Your family should be the people who love you even when you are at your worse. They are there to pick you back up when you fail. Love can mean hard discipline too because you know that consequences to bad decisions will teach a valuable lesson. Jessica decided to party her way through her first year of college and was placed on academic probation which meant she would have to do a fifth year to graduate. At the end of her fourth year, I told her I had agreed to pay for four years, so she would have to pay for the fifth year. It was hard for me to tell her that, but she told me later that it was a good lesson for her.
Families need to have understanding, love, laughter, and forgiveness, and if they can maintain those, they will find the glue that holds families together.