The primary determinant of happiness in the family is how well everyone is getting along. You can have a big impact on the relationships in your family by following these simple principles:
Mom and dad set the example
Happiness at home starts with the parents. You and your spouse set the tone. If you don’t get along, it will create a level of stress that likely cannot be overcome. Apply the following principles first with your spouse.
Say something kind every day
Be sure to say something kind to every person in your family every day. Make a point to complement their look, to congratulate them for an achievement, or to thank them for doing something.
Tell everyone you love them every day
Make a point to tell the members of the family that you love them every day. If this isn’t part of your routine now, strive to make this a part of daily routine. It will get easier and easier until it’s a habit.
Do something kind every week
Set a goal to do something kind for each person in the family each week. It doesn't need to be big, but it should be something that gets noticed. It can be small and easy for you, but if you do something that would be hard or impossible for your spouse or child, it will be remembered forever.
Spend time with the family
Make a commitment to spend time together as a family each week. Pick a time and hold it sacred so everyone understands that the number one priority during that time is being together. Make sure that this time includes some moments when you can talk. Watching television or going to a movie only works if you take time before or after to have dinner or otherwise create a situation where you can interact.
Spend alone time with each person
Make sure that you spend some one-on-one time with your spouse and with each of your children. You should block out time with your spouse at least once each week and spend time with each child one-on-one at least once per month. Make sure that they know each person in the family believes you when you say, “I love you.”
Never lose your temper
It can take weeks, months or even years for your relationship with a family member to recover from your losing your temper. Don’t let your temper ruin your relationships with your spouse or children.
Choose a cause
Find something that you, your spouse and children can do together to serve others. By volunteering together you can create a bonding experience that will help you focus on others, taking your minds off the petty and ordinary little quarrels that interrupt the peace and harmony in the home.
By following these principles, a family can build a happy home that isn’t burdened by conflict. Real happiness comes from serving others. By serving each other and together serving others, you can create transcendent happiness that will last for your entire lifetimes.
Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.