5 secrets to a happy family life

by Michelle Chin (mchin@sph.com.sg)
published on 08 July 2016

Having a happy and supportive family can have positive and far-reaching effects in our lives. 
Nurturing stronger family ties goes beyond celebrating special occasions together.
Here are some ways you can forge closer bonds with your family.
1. Make family your priority
No matter how busy you are, acknowledge the importance of your family and the vital part it plays in your life.
Mrs Charis Patrick, a family and marital therapist and mother of four, said: “When we are busy juggling our careers, family frequently takes a backseat. We may take it for granted that our family members will be understanding and support the career choices we make.
“In order to make time for our families, we must first develop the mindset that our families are indispensable.”
2. Consciously set aside family time
Have a family meal at grandmother’s place weekly or go on a family holiday every year.
Mrs Patrick explained that such family-friendly practices offer predictability and shape family culture, and help family members to form the habit of setting aside family time.
3. Hold on to positive memories
Mrs Patrick notes that positive and happy memories bind people together.
She said: “Accumulate fond memories of the times you had with your family members. These memories are powerful and energising, and can give you faith when you feel down.”
4. Be there for one another
Celebrate one another’s successes and offer support during times of crisis. Sometimes, offering a listening ear is all you need to make a loved one feel better. Tough times are often more bearable when one has family support.
5. Refrain from bearing grudges
Conflict is inevitable, especially when living in close quarters. Learn to forgive and forget. Don’t hold on to unhappiness. Focus on the good points of your family members and the times they helped you out or were there for you.
Remind yourself not to take them for granted. Nobody is perfect. The key to building any good relationship is to practise tolerance, and accept that each person has his or her flaws and strengths.