As our families grow many things change. We may watch an uncle are a father who was once fit and agile struggle with mobility issues or watch the daughter who used to eat baby food and sit in a high chair grow into a teenager. Life guarantees change. It’s both natural and necessary. However, how do we navigate change and still cultivate strong familial bonds?
One of the first things we must do is accept that things will change. We may want our children to be babies forever but with each passing year they grow and become smarter, wiser, and more independent. Although we may be proud we may also be scared. Change is a normal part of life and on some level, we must embrace it and learn how to manage it. This is the first step towards nurturing a close and loving relationship with family members as time passes.
Adapt & Adjust
Once we’ve accepted the inevitability of change we are now free to look for ways to keep the lines of communication open and introduce new activities that may better suit a growing family. If your son that was once shy all of a sudden becomes a social butterfly we can find ways to accommodate and encourage that change as long as it’s healthy. Just as the daughter that used to need the night light may no longer call you to get the monsters from under her bed, the son that once played independently may become clingy and untrusting. Developing an attitude that promotes flexibility and listening is one of the best traits you can foster as your family grows and changes.
Express Your Hopes & Fears
It’s easy to want to hide your feelings from family members as you see things changing quickly. Your crafty mother who used to work with everything from ceramic fiber board to aluminum may lose interest in her penchant for crafting and take up archery. As you see changes taking place, use those moments to express your thoughts and fears. This will allow your family to share their true feeling and make it easier to work toward more acceptance, closeness, and understanding.
As much as we realize that change is a necessity none of us really like it. Change is something that will take place regardless of whether we’re ready or not. Accept that change is a natural part of living and start making small adjustments to fit the changes. While you’re making adjustments that better serve your family, be transparent. Express your concerns with them and make this form of open-ended conversation a tool that will help you to foster better relationships that grow with the changes.