The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. - Richard Bach
Every now and then you need quotes like these to remind you of the value your family holds in your life. Though family relationships are based on the strongest bond you could probably forge, they are equally sensitive. The bond of parents with children, of children with their siblings, among extended family, are all important relationships that need to be nurtured with time and effort. It is this lack of time and effort that sometimes results in minor or major problems within the family. The meaning of family gets altered, the strong bond weakens, and if not taken care of, withers away into nothingness. Here, we try and understand this sensitive bond, the problems it endures, and ways of strengthening family relationships.
Taking Each Other for Granted
The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you. - Kendall Hailey
The biggest problem that affects family relationships is the fact that they are taken for granted. 'She is my mother, so she will cook for me', 'He is my father, so he will pay for me', 'He is my brother, so he will stick up for me', etc., are all thought processes that signify you are taking your bond for granted, and that your meaning of family is that only they should be there for you, irrespective of whether or not you are there for them.
It also signifies a lack of respect and value for all that you are being given without being asked for anything in return. But remember, every relationship is one of give and take. Though parents' love is known to be unconditional and that is what you have been taught all your life, there is something that they expect out of you. It may not be materialistic, but just simple appreciation of the fact that they do so much for you. Similar is the case with your siblings.
Taking any relationship for granted, be it one with your family, one with your partner, or with a friend, is one of the biggest mistakes all of us make at some point in life. Every time such an instance occurs, your relationship will be affected, and weaken over time. So show your appreciation every once in a while, say it or express it with a gesture, but do it. It keeps the love alive and the relationship strong.
Not Being There for Each Other
No success in public life can compensate for failure in the home. - Benjamin Disraeli
The second biggest problem that family relationships have to endure is the lack of time for each other. You are probably so caught up with your work, your social life, or yourself, that you have no time to bond with and understand the importance of family. This is in fact, a very serious problem, because there have been disastrous cases of children having the worst childhood, simply because their parents did not spend enough time with them. They grow up with bitter feelings in their hearts, and blame every negative instance or attribute that they possess to the fact that there was no one to teach them the difference between the right and the wrong. Some children have the maturity to understand the issue and deal with it, others don't. You definitely don't want to be one of those parents.
Also remember that if you don't teach your little ones the value of spending time together as a family, as they grow up, they won't have enough time for you. That means when you are ready to listen to them, take care of them, and simply be there for them, they will probably have found another shoulder to cry on and another person to share their happiness with. This is probably when you will feel most regretful. Even spouses face the problem of lack of time for each other, and this results in serious relationship issues, such as emotional cheating, infidelity, and divorce. The fact that you promised to share your lives together, no matter what, is completely forgotten, and a bitter battle of words and emotions takes its place.
Not Communicating with Each Other
When a family is free of abuse and oppression, it can be the place where we share our deepest secrets and stand the most exposed, a place where we learn to feel distinct without being "better," and sacrifice for others without losing ourselves. - Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Lack of communication is another problem amongst families. This may be due to the lack of time, or due to a particular fear of communicating with the family. For instance, kids are scared of their parents because of a fear that has been inculcated into them, which is why if they happen to do something wrong, they don't tell their parents, as they expect to be severely berated, labeled, and blamed for their doing. Spouses don't communicate with each other for the same reason. Parents don't tell their children what they feel for the fear of causing bitterness in their hearts.
Yes, family relationships are sensitive, but they are definitely stronger than your fears. You have only your family to back you up in tough times, and sometimes, even the tiniest amount of support from your little one can strengthen you enough to tackle the world. Similarly, forging a bond with your kids so that they can easily come up and talk to you about any of their problems is important. This does not mean that you do not tell them when they are doing something wrong. There is a fine line between respect and fear that kids have for their parents. Command this respect, and leave no room for fear by opening up to them, and having them open up to you.
Not Saying 'I Love You' Enough
The real question isn't whether or not you love your kids, but how well you are able to demonstrate your love and caring so that your children really feel loved. - Stephanie Marston
The phrase 'I Love You' has a lot of value, in spite of the fact that it is loosely used nowadays for any Tom, Dick, and Harry. The difference is when you say it, you have to mean it. Internally in a family, saying 'I love you' to each other, and meaning it every time you say it, is very important. You probably don't realize it, but it strengthens not only your bonds, but also your own self. We're all humans, and all we want is a little love, and this expression of love from our family makes a whole world of a difference to the people we are. If not verbally, say it by means of a gesture, like cooking up a great family dinner, taking your kids to the new amusement park in town, giving in to their demands every once in a while, spending time with your spouse with a quiet dinner, or anything you think is an expression of your love for your family.
Good family life is never an accident but always an achievement by those who share it. - James H.S. Bossard
With all said and done, family relationships can strengthen you, but sometimes weaken you too. Sometimes, your loyalty to your family is so great, that you are unable to make certain decisions that you know would benefit yourself. Sacrifices are not always termed as a good idea, because it is a fact that you cannot make someone else happy unless you are happy yourself. In some cases, it is necessary to separate from the family that is weakening you, to find yourself, and then return to nurture and recreate family relationships.
However, just remember the very important bottom line here. Not every human being is blessed with a family, and those of you who are, carve out some important family time, put in your efforts to nurture your relationships with every family member, have some good old family fun, and you will find yourself blessed, strong, and capable of tackling any problem that life throws at you.