Many of us say that our families are our top priorities, but do our actions truly align with our words? Sometimes, the answer is a resounding yes. Other times, family takes a backseat when pressures mount. Here are some helpful tips for becoming a family-oriented person—no matter how complicated life becomes.
5 Ways to Become a More Family Oriented Person
- Schedule Family Time
- Focus on Active Listening
- Show Your Love in Small Ways
- Be Present for the Most Important Moments
- Practice Self-Care
If you ever find that you’re not as family oriented as you’d like to be, know that you are not alone. Even the most devoted parents can find themselves distracted by the worries and complexities of life. Whenever this happens, trust that you can find ways to balance family and other competing needs.
What Does Family Oriented Mean?
A family-oriented person is someone who always has a special place for family in his or her life. Although they may have a career and outside interests, a family-oriented person never loses sight of the importance of family.
When you are a family-oriented person, you show this through words and actions. You focus on maintaining a strong presence in your family’s life. At times, this can mean being physically present in the home or at key family events or milestones. But a family-oriented person also focuses on being emotionally present and available for family members.
Keep in mind that being family oriented isn’t all about the big things in life. Don’t wait until the holidays, major milestones, or large family gatherings to show how much you care. You can demonstrate your commitment to family in small but meaningful ways. By doing so, you’ll foster meaningful family relationships that endure through all of life’s seasons.
5 Ways to Become a More Family Oriented Person
As the years pass, families change. Parents may find themselves taking on new roles at work or in their community. In addition, your children will grow, form bonds with friends, and explore their own purposes and identities. Although families may be close when kids are young, they can find themselves drifting apart. At times, any family member may need to pause and reflect on how to become more family oriented in order to strengthen relationships with loved ones.
1. Family Oriented Individuals Schedule Family Time
Family life is often hectic. One parent may have an intense work schedule or a long commute, while the other drives children to evening activities. Families that take on caring for chronically ill parents or extended family members have extra burdens. Sometimes, it can feel like weeks can go by without seeing each other for more than a few minutes. When stressful issues like family illnesses or job changes occur, these situations make life even more complicated.
Even in the busiest of times, you can find ways to maintain close family connections. One of the best ways to be a family oriented person is to schedule family time. Have everyone block off at least one night per week dedicated to family activities. Stay home, turn off the TV and electronics, and spend quality time together.
For some families, getting together during the week is hard—especially when kids have extracurricular activities. In those scenarios, a dedicated Friday pizza and game night is sometimes a good option. Busy on Friday nights? Consider a Saturday morning breakfast or Sunday dinner.
Yes, simply sharing a family meal together can feel overwhelming during life’s most intense passages. If that happens, aim for smaller blocks of time. For example, a half-hour walk around the neighborhood once a week can feel centering and build closeness. Such walks can keep everyone engaged in physical activity as well.
The important thing is to find a window of time when the entire family can be together. Don’t try to overachieve and add unnecessary stress. Instead, know that this busy season will pass and that your family will find new opportunities to strengthen its bonds.
2. Family Oriented People Focus on Active Listening
Undoubtedly, it can be hard to carve out as much time as you’d like to spend with members of your family. You can sense your kids’ childhood years speeding by. Remember that old adage “quality over quantity.” Spending a few minutes actively engaged in conversation with family can mean a lot.
The primary goal of these moments is to help your family member know that they have your full attention. And, in the end, that you understand them completely. This generally means no multitasking, putting cell phones away, and not looking at your watch. It usually involves good eye contact, facial expressions that show you are taking an interest, and reflecting back key phrases or feelings your family member is sharing.
For teens, too much eye contact can actually reduce the amount of sharing. They often feel more comfortable talking while doing something with you. This could be as simple as making a snack with you in the kitchen or doing the dishes together. Sometimes the best conversations can happen while you are riding together in the car.
In general, active listening helps slow down the pace of communication and focuses on mutual understanding. It’s focuses more on being curious about what the other person is thinking and feeling, rather than on making your points.
If you or your family members find it hard to listen without interrupting, you might try using the talking stick technique. Essentially, this involves having some sort of small object - preferably one without a sharp point. It could be something fun, like a fidget toy, or it could be a meaningful reminder of what you are trying to accomplish. For example, an object with the word “Respect” on it might be helpful.
In any case, the person holding the talking stick is the designated speaker, while the other person is focused on listening. Once the speaker feels completely understood, the roles switch to allow the other person to fully share their perspective.
With this technique, family members can feel heard, even if the conversation is brief. By listening intently, you’ll let your loved ones know that their words and feelings matter to you.
3. Family Oriented People Regularly Show Love in Small Ways
You don’t need to spend lots of money or hours to let someone know how much you love them. Small gestures of caring can help you stay connected to family, even if your schedule is full.
Leave an “I love you” note on the bathroom mirror. Pick up a loved one’s favorite snack or sweet surprise and put it near their keys or backpack. Send a quick text to brighten someone’s day. These are a few of the countless small ways that you can show your love and foster stronger relationships.
Even if you are spending regular quality time with family, little expressions of love still matter. You can inspire a smile or lift someone’s spirits when they are having a down day. Gestures like secret family handshakes take just seconds, but they can send messages of belonging and support. And don’t forget to treat your spouse to regular, small expressions of love to help fortify your marriage.
4. Family Oriented People Are Present for the Most Important Moments
We may not be able to be present for every family moment. For example, working parents may not be able to take off to attend their child’s school program during the day. We may not be on the sidelines of every sporting event. This is particularly the case when families have multiple children engaged in activities outside the home. But we should do our best to be there for the things that matter most.
Take some time to talk about upcoming events with members of your family. Work together to determine the “gotta-be-there events.” Commit to being there for your kids when it matters most. Keeping your promise even when it’s difficult to do so sends a strong message of commitment and love.
Imagine that your son plays on a competitive basketball team, but the basketball season corresponds to your busiest months at work. You have some big deadlines and know you’ll have late nights. Missing some games is inevitable. But if you and your child sit down at the start of the season and review his game schedule, you can make a plan. He can choose to have you come to key games with rival teams but know you may miss less important games. You can organize your work schedule and coordinate with co-workers to have that evening off.
Collaboration, communication, and planning are critical for family life. You can organize your time to be present when it matters most. Plus, your kids will start to see how adults can juggle many responsibilities, but still be active participants in family life. They’ll trust that you value them and that you’ll keep your promises.
5. Family Oriented People Practice Self-Care
You may think that being family oriented means doing as much as you can for those you love. But you don’t want to fall into a pattern of giving too much and never taking time for yourself.
Unnecessary stress can take its toll on your health and wellbeing. That’s why taking care of yourself is an essential part of being a family-oriented person.
It’s important to treat yourself with respect and replenish your own energy. Creating self-care rituals can help you feel renewed and able to manage the demands of family life.
What types of self-care practices should you pursue? It depends on your interests and the time you have available. Try waking up 15 minutes earlier to do some yoga or read the daily news in the quiet of the morning. Keep a hand cream that you love near the kitchen sink and use it a few times daily. Schedule a monthly lunch date with friends. Go for a 20-minute walk or run several times each week.
Self-care rituals like these can give you a few minutes pause in the rush of daily life. These little moments of renewal serve as a reminder that you matter. And when you care for yourself, you’re more able to care for others. It’s that simple.
If you constantly give but feel that family members don’t reciprocate, resentments and tensions will build up. Harboring this type of negativity can create unwanted distance in family relationships, potentially leading to increased levels of anxiety and depression. If this is your experience, your family quality of life may be enhanced by taking a closer look at your overall family culture through a family quiz. Doing so can help you achieve balance in a number of family dimensions, including those related to family time, family support, and family vision.
Family Oriented Homes Promote Love and Well-being
Being a parent in today’s fast-paced culture isn’t always easy. Working fathers and mothers who must provide for their families often find it quite difficult to achieve a satisfying work-life balance. Even parents who place a high priority on family life will likely find themselves having to prioritize work life from time to time in order to achieve a realistic work and family life balance.
The same is true for many children these days. They also have pressures and activities that compete for their attention. They need time to study and to build relationships with friends. Their commitment to team sports often requires much of their afternoon and weekend time.
Feeling overwhelmed is common in modern families--for parents and children. But you don’t need to let the complexities of family life prevent you from being the family-oriented person you desire to be. Instead of just plodding along with day-to-day tasks, you can pause and think about ways to deepen your connections with family members.
One clear way to be more family-oriented is to spend time with your loved ones. Schedule weekly dinners or group activities that everyone can enjoy. If weekly together time is hard to coordinate, scale back. Going for regular short walks can be just as meaningful but take less time. Visiting favorite restaurants and watching family-oriented movies once a month are other viable ideas.
Remember to focus on quality over quantity. You can choose to practice active listening and be fully present in key conversations despite your busy schedule. And don’t forget that little gestures of love given regularly can bring immense benefits, including providing increased buffers to depression and anxiety in family members.
No matter how busy life gets, show up for what matters most. Work with your spouse and kids to determine those “gotta-be-there events.” Attend the dance recitals, school plays, and big games. Plan ahead, work out schedule details, and be there for your loved ones.
Although it can seem counterintuitive, taking care of yourself is a key part of taking care of other people. Being a family-oriented person doesn’t mean giving until you’re exhausted. Grant yourself opportunities for self-care. Even a few minutes can recharge your batteries and help you be more present in family life.
A family-oriented person embodies the family values that can anchor your children in a turbulent world. And most importantly, when you model for your children how to stay family oriented despite the pressures and demands of life, you give them the greatest chance at being able to do the same for their own children. And that’s a gift worth giving--one that will likely last for generations to come.