Keeping Family Ties Strong

It’s a whole new game when it comes to family ties. The traditional family — Mom, Dad and their children – has been all but redefined by divorce, mobility and other cultural trends. It’s no secret that more couples are divorcing today that ever before (recent studies estimate the rate at about 50 percent). Children of divorce are often both blessed and challenged by multiple family allegiances. While they have a larger support group of loving family members, they may also have to tread lightly due to the acceptance or non-acceptance of extended or blended families.

Meanwhile, employment demands may prompt parents to find work or advance in their current company by moving the family to other cities or countries. Additionally, any family – traditional, blended, single-parent – can feel the strain if parents travel for business or serve overseas in the military. Family closeness allows for sharing joys and sorrows in a safe environment. Even when family dynamics change, it’s smart to keep healthy connections. Here are tips for making your family bonds stronger:

Embrace the Digital Age. There’s no need to drift apart. Besides making phone calls, sending text messages or writing letters, you can go online to email, host a family chat room or create a family website.

Establish New Ties. In a new city, get to know neighbors, friends and people from your church or civic groups. This relationship-building is especially good for children. They thrive when surrounded by extended “family” connections.

Talk Now, Before a Crisis. Healthy families communicate their thoughts and feelings in a clear and direct manner. In fact, the families that seem to do the best in a crisis usually have established good, healthy relationships. Be an active listener and pay attention to verbal and non-verbal messages. If you run into problems, don’t be afraid to ask for help from professionals; try to get to know them and the services they offer, before there’s a problem. As your clan’s ties become stronger, there will be positive growth and stability in your family.