After spending several days in close proximity to my family, I noticed something. While being the lone female member of my household, I was all about ‘family time’. My male counterparts were not. They were more about video games, internet surfing and watching sports. As the days unfurled quickly before us, I found I had to assertively fight for our togetherness. If my husband and two sons did eventually give in to my demands, it often felt like they did it for charitable reasons to keep old mom quiet.
As I observed this phenomenon over the course of holiday break, I came to learn that I operate on an entirely different frequency than the rest of my family. I start my day by giving hugs and praise to our two dogs. When I see my boys first thing, I give them a hug or a smooch and tell them how much I love them. If we watch a movie or show, I prefer it to be about love. I like stories that end in a positive way. In a house that values sports, heavy artillery and extremely fast vehicles of any sort, a good love story is perceived as anything but good.
Still, I valiantly and relentlessly try to keep my family emotionally connected even though we are opposites in many ways. Here are some strategies I use and hopefully, no matter where your family lands on the spectrum of personal preferences, you will find some common ground to help solidify your family’s bond.
For my family, game night can be extremely challenging. It is always high stakes as three out of four of us simply CANNOT tolerate losing (you know who you are!). I find games that are a combination of luck and a little bit of strategy seem to level the playing field. My top picks are Farkle, Quirkle and Tenzi. We also recently started playing Say Anything and no one has a special advantage as it is based on humor and creativity.
Click here for more ideas: FAMILY FRIENDLY GAMES
I love family questions. They are a great way to get conversations started and to learn things about your family that you wouldn’t otherwise know. The best family conversation starters are from the Table Topics brand.
Click here to visit their website: TABLE TOPICS
Family Movie Night
We generally try to have movie night every Sunday. It has become so popular in our house, my boys often ask for additional movie nights throughout the week. The challenge here is finding movies that we all agree on. As you might recall, I am the queen of movies about love. This puts the rest of my household into revolt. We are able to compromise by choosing movies about underdogs. While the boys can relate to the athletic action, I can relate to the characters’ struggles and triumphs. There usually are great life lessons depicted which can also generate some valuable family conversations.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Remember the Titans
- Karate Kid
- Little Giants
The ‘Angels in the Outfield’ series (three movies in total) is a good compromise for those who really aren’t interested in sports at all. There is a good balance of humor, heart, and sports action that most everyone will be able to relate to some aspect. Little Giants is like this, too.
Click here for more family movie ideas: FAMILY MOVIES
When all is said and done, I’ve learned to manage my expectations. Every family interaction is not going to go smoothly. Some are going to be duds. Most are going to be honest attempts at fun, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then, there is the occasional time when the stars align and you end up laughing in unison until your sides hurt. Being part of a family is magic in moments like this.
Keep fighting for your magic.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent