To build a strong family, make the care and nurturing of your children one of your highest priorities.
The time you invest today in building a strong family will payoff for years to come. Pick a place to start and get going.
You can start by focusing on your family’s current strengths and think of ways to build on these. Do you appreciate your family’s sense of humor, traditions, communication, values, something else? Ask each family member to make a list of family strengths. Discuss them together. Post them where everyone can see them. What can you do together to build on these strengths? Create a family identity through rituals, jokes, pet names, or even a mission statement.
As Jacqueline Kennedy said, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much”.
Make time each day to listen and respond to your children in a nurturing way. Show them they matter by playing with them. A few minutes of quality time each day really makes a difference.
If possible, adjust your schedule so that a parent or other caring adult is at home and available at the four most critical times of the day: when your child wakes up, after school, at dinner, and at bedtime.
Strive to eat family meals together as often as possible. Research shows that children and teens who have more than three family dinners a week are more likely to get better grades in school, at 70% lower risk for substance abuse, half as likely to try cigarettes, to be daily cigarette smokers, or to try marijuana, one-third as likely to try alcohol, half as likely to get drunk monthly, less likely to have friends who drink alcohol and use marijuana, and almost 40% more likely to say they won't ever use drugs.
Aha! Parenting includes resources on child development, tips on building strong families, and the opportunity to sign up for newsletters with tips for parents.
Being a Dad is a brochure for dads, whether first time or long time. It includes quick tips and referrals to other resources specifically for dads.
MVParents, developed by the Search Institute, focuses on positive strategies for parenting challenges and also includes a free newsletter and downloadable resources.
Shoulder to Shoulder is filled with practical information and tools to increase your confidence and comfort in raising a teen. Created in Minnesota, you can download parent tips, find resources, and even share your challenges and stories on line.
ParentingTeensOnline is filled with credible, easy to find information on many topics including alcohol and drugs, family, health, school (including preparing and paying for college), social and community life, sports and competition, and technology and media. It also includes book reviews and excerpts.