While healthy relationships with blood related family is not a given in life, we have the power to create our own families. Whether that is with blood relatives, in a marriage, or intentionally connecting with friends who are like family, we know to have deeply connected relationships that function in mutual respect and a lot of fun, deeply benefits our health. Having regular times we see this family or “framily” (friends who are family), has remarkable benefits on our health and wellbeing!
The Work of Healing
Ideas to regularly engage with extended family or ‘framily’:
- Communicate – Start a text chain with the whole family or “framily” on it. Focus on humor and connection, not reporting life events- save that for face-to-face time.
- Food – For “Live In” Family, dinner is a tried and true staple that research shows has immense impact on the mental health and academic outcomes of children. Is dinner hard? Wake up a bit earlier for breakfast or commit to family weekend meals.
- Another tip: Have one night a week or month set aside for extended Family or framily Dinner. Switch off houses or food-providers to help carry the load.
- Traditions – Start a new tradition like Minute to Win It games every summer, or use a government Holiday (Memorial Day, Labor Day, Presidents Day, etc) as a time for a specific outing or activity
- Invite others into the mundane – Make children’s sporting events a family event sometimes. Have a ‘run of the mill’ basketball game? Ask the whole fam to join!
- Rituals – Think about your family rituals: what do you do together regularly? Watch Sunday night football? Reading together on Saturday mornings? Weekend special breakfasts? Bedtime routines? Family rituals are essential in overall psychological well being, identity, achievement, and self-esteem. (source)
- Boundaries – Continual strained relationships need healthy boundaries to help mitigate negative impact. (see Resources for some ‘how-to’ resources)
Looking for content to dive deeper into this topic? Check out these links below for further readings and resources related to this topic.
- LOCAL THERAPY: The Family Conservancy, ReDiscover, The Peace Partnership are all free or low cost family therapy
- INVENTORY: Use this Family Strengths Inventory to assess and set goals for growth
- PODCAST: Gottman’s Small Things Often Podast– science based family podcast
- PODCAST: Nedra Glover Tawwab is a Black author and expert on boundaries
- BOOK: Set Boundaries and Find Peace by Nedra Glover Tawwab
- BLOG: Just because you forgive, doesn’t mean you trust
|About the Author: Casey Born is the Senior Member Success Advocate for The Educator Academy. In this role, she extends support, offers resources, boosts skills, prioritizes wellness, and offers encouragement needed to thrive and to sustain a career in education. She is passionate about the need to address the whole person and is available to check-in, connect with resources, and plan for success!|