Does family values trigger a very Hum Aapke Hai Kaun image for you? We may think of these concepts as cheesy but the fact is, our family values have a huge role to play in how we turn out to be. For instance, did you know that parents who provide autonomy to their children tend to have kids who grow up to be much better at fighting stress and managing rough life events?
So here are some important family values which needs to be imbibed in 2017:
1. Treat daughters and sons equal
In urban India, parents think treating both the girl and boy child as equal begins and ends with sending both of them to school. However, that’s not even a point of discussion. The effort starts when the process of upbringing comes into the picture. No parent should tell the daughter to learn household chores if they won’t tell it to their son. The rules of the house for the children for playing, watching tv, going out, attending parties or for developing hobbies should exactly be the same. Daughters should not be asked to let go if the same lesson would not be taught to sons. It is not a crime to be a girl and no aspect of upbringing should make the girl feel so. That is when it will be amounting to gender equality.
2. Teach boys to cry
Emotional repression is a big factor that affects the life of men. Either they become so stunted emotionally that they are not able to develop good relationships, or they take out their unvented emotions in ways like violence, thrill seeking and intoxication. Have a culture in your house where sons are allowed to cry and not shamed for having such feelings.
3. Open door policy
Some fascinating experiments by psychologist Phillip Zombardo prove that when we raise a generation of children to blindly follow rules and hierarchies; children do not even question when someone even when they become fully functioning adults. Therefore, we need to raise children who can be comfortable in questioning even the highest authority in the family and there need not be complicated routes to reach that person.
4. Learn a sport or hobby together
When we do activities along with loved ones that are interesting and lead to self-growth, they tend to have a positive impact on our relationships with them. Further, certain sports and hobbies can also improve communication between family members and lend a team spirit. If one or more members of the family struggle with lifestyle issues like weight problems, a family sport is a great way to hit two targets with one stone.
5. Be a family that reads
We have a lot of interactive media available to us these days to explain concepts, give information and entertain. However, reading helps us to gain vocabulary, have a healthy imagination and also understand the value of patience while learning or entertaining. Reading can be introduced for everyone, based on age appropriate books. The family can then discuss each book, once a month.
6. The trend of (genuine) compliments
Research suggests that good relationships mean a ratio of 1:4 when it comes to negative and positive statements. So, for every critical, mean or negative thing you say to a family member, you have to say at least 3 genuinely positive things. This makes sure that they take your criticism constructively. This also helps them see that you do not just see them as a giant mass of faults and mistakes, but as a complete person with good and bad things.
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7. Role exchange
We all have designated roles in the family, which come with the relevant duties. Sometimes, we take these roles for granted. Exchanging roles for a day, every month, ensures that we are empathetic to each other’s struggles. So, for one day in a month, mom, dad and children can all exchange roles. After the day is over, they can have a chat about the challenges they faced and also admit to their mistakes if they took someone for granted, before this exercise.
8. Adopt a culture
Seeing things similar to us around us makes us feel that’s the only reality there is. This sometimes leads to narrow mindedness. To battle this, as a family, you can adopt a culture other than yours, for a year. For example with these family values, if you are north Indian, once a year, do things the South Indian way. If you are west Indian celebrate the north-eastern festivals. This helps to keep us humble and open to learning.
9. Switch off time
Since we live in a highly digital world, switching off our devices for some time is required for mental peace. Only when the distractions are away, will we truly engage with our family members. So, as a family, you can keep dinner as switch off time. The whole family keeps their devices in another room on silent mode, no TV or radio either. Everyone talks about their day to each other and shares views. Even this 1 to 2 hour practice a day can go a long way in helping family bonding.
Our environment and many people and animals around us are in great need of help. So once in a while, instead of going to an amusement park or a movie, you as a family can do an act of compassion. Either you could volunteer with an NGO, pay a visit to an animal shelter, orphanage or an old age home. Alternatively, you could also come together and create something sustainable like toilet spaces or repainting a dirty street corner.
As a family, you can create a practice of de-hoarding. Not only does it mean, being careful about the purchases you make but also it means to give away things when they are no more needed. Apart from helping you do a good deed of donation, it also helps you loosen the attachment with material things. This is a very helpful learning to tide you through rough times.
So, we feel that these 10 family values could help you become a stronger, well connected family. Do you have any values you particularly like or any would like to add? Let us know in the comments below!
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