A family is a powerful thing. The relationships it represents have real potential to make or break someone’s future. A good family situation can help someone succeed in education and employment, while a bad family can undermine those areas and even contribute to a life of substance abuse or crime.
We can’t always change the experience we have had in our own families growing up, but we can definitely work to make things more positive for the family we raise. Doing so helps our kids grow up in a more positive environment that helps to put them on the road to success.
Take Care of Yourself First
It may sound selfish, but the only way to be a positive part of your family is to take care of your physical health, mental health, and emotional well-being. If you aren’t able to function, you can’t do what your family needs you to do.
So improve your health. Lose weight if you need to. Control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high blood sugar, if those are affecting you. If you have a substance abuse issue, stop trying to kick it by yourself and find a drug detox center where you can get lasting help.
Set a Sustainable Career Example
There are few things that are tougher to understand than the negative aspects of being a workaholic. Many parents feel that they must be the best possible provider in order to be a good parent.
Of course, it’s true that your kids need you to provide for them financially so that they are safe, healthy, and successful, but there is a tipping point after which your extra hours on the job have a negative effect.
Your kids need to know you, and they need to spend time with you. Remember that not every good thing is measured in dollars and cents. Your time is valuable too, so strike a healthy balance.
Promote Positive Family Relationships
Kids learn how to interact with a future spouse by observing their own parents. Even in cases of divorce, kids learn a lot. They see how the former couple deals with each other, and they notice what takes place between parents and step-parents.
The same is true with the kids. Children who grow up feeling that they are loved and important will treat their kids the same way. This brings us back to the working situation; if they grow up thinking that a parent should be working 80 hours a week, they will do so as well, undermining their own personal relationships.
Support Your Kids
When we’re happy, we want our kids to do things the way we have done them. That’s our perspective on happiness, and if they don’t follow it, we feel compelled to try to change their ways.
This is usually doomed to failure. Your office job may have been gratifying and lucrative for the last 20 years, but as your kids reach adulthood, they may have no interest in such work. You must learn to apply the proper amount of guidance to steer them toward what makes them happy without forcing them into a particular future that’s more of your choosing than theirs.
We all make choices in life, and sometimes they don’t turn out ideally. Whether it’s too many hours at the office or a strained relationship between a factory-working parent and an artistic child, it’s important to review your own choices and understand how you can improve them for your family’s benefit.