How family bonding helps youth thrive
Strong family attachment and meaningful connection with adults are proven to reduce risk for youth. Many families already incorporate several recommended strategies into daily life. Find your favorites below and read on for new ideas to bolster your family's strengths.
Spend time together. Activities don't have to be elaborate or expensive. Just spending time together teaches kids that they are loved and valuable.
Listen. Parents often strive to fix problems for their kids, when really kids just need to feel heard. Keep family dynamics healthy by striving to listen more than you speak.
Listening well takes practice.
Ask one question, not many
Wait for an answer.
Acknowledge their point of view.
Practice while driving in the car. Short trips reduce the temptation to give long lectures.
Model the behavior you want to see in your child. Whether it's language, health, faith, hard work or dependence on alcohol, kids model what they see in the home.
We can't all be models. Or can we?
Host an "Appy Hour" to show kids that adults can have fun without alcohol.
Be clear about your values. Talk often about the things that are important to you. No lectures, just casual comments and your kids will soon be coming to you to discuss tough topics.
Discuss youth behavior in terms of body and brain health.
Discuss behaviors you value plainly.
Be clear about consequences.
Refain from lectures. Casual comments encourage more dialogue.
Consider a Family Contract.
Find a positive parenting community that supports your healthy communication efforts.