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February 16, 2019

Why we need family traditions

Schools are out and have been for a while now. As parents, it’s up to us to ensure that the children on holiday get to spend their time constructively and away from harm. To do this effectively, many a parent tends to lean on the tried and tested way which may include, shipping them off to their grandparents or going away to spend some time with them. Whichever the case and whatever the undertaking, it will be defined by the children as their family’s tradition.

Family traditions are those things that are well known to family members and in which they engage in together on a regular basis. These traditions serve to enhance the family bond and establish a sense of unity among the family members. These may include different activities like get-togethers, working on humanitarian projects together and participating in sporting activities.

For these traditions to be successful, they are heavily reliant on every family member’s contribution. Family traditions are foundation builders; they offer invaluable emotional support which is only possible when those involved have a sense of ownership for the whole process, are accepting of it and feel included. If done right, they counter any sense of alienation and confusion amongst family members.

They help us define who we are, provide something steady, reliable and safe in an otherwise confusing world. Due to their importance, family traditions need to be kept fresh and exciting. Just because things have been done a certain way, on a certain day, at a certain time for generations it is not a good reason to keep doing the same.

Adopting new traditions is equally as important as observing old ones. This is the best way to ensure inclusiveness and sensitivity to every family member. For families who do not have traditions, whether old ones or new ones; below are key reasons why every family should adopt a set of traditions and stick with them:-

Memories are made of this - since typically family traditions are observed within fun based settings, there is the experience of positive, happy emotions by everyone. This provides a safe-haven for the mind to return at any time – especially stressful ones. Enhances a child’s emotional well-being; specifically in regards to identity issues, emotional security and a sense of belonging.

As children interact with other family members, they gain a wider knowledge of their heritage which provides the script which the child can use in defining themselves. Feeling accepted and being part of family activities or traditions creates a strong sense of ‘I belong’ to the child and security arising from the feeling that ‘I have a family to turn to any time I need to’.

Cumulatively, all these positive emotions provide character backbone for the child which acts as a powerful tool they can use to successfully navigate through negative peer pressure or influences. Provides opportunity to impart values; when the atmosphere is relaxed, people having a good time, the conversation light, it is easier to introduce serious issues without making others defensive. Also, at a family activity, children benefit from quality time spent with their parents which make them more respective to whatever the parent has to say.

The setting also provides parents with the opportune time to model whatever values they have been teaching their children for example sharing, teamwork, courtesy. While children get to observe parents outside their purely parental roles, seeing them as knowledgeable role models who can be emulated.

Highlights people’s strengths and weaknesses; keen parents can learn a lot about their children just by watching them and their contribution during family activities. Qualities like a child’s social skills, people skills, confidence levels are just a few of those that will become apparent. During such settings, a child’s interests, skills and personality will become more and more apparent and a parent will be better placed to offer direction or guidance.

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