Family: Wife and Kids
Questions: Life? Profession? Career? Retirement? Partner? Kids? House? Health? Wealth? Holidays? …..
Each and everyone is looking for answers, answers to the questions that bog down our daily existence. Among all these, there is one most important one to which we must seek an honest answer for :
“Is my Family Happy, How do I keep my family happy?”
Our family is the most important thing in our lives, yet do we ask ourselves the answer to this question consciously, especially after the 40s?
The happiness and well-being of our family have a strong and direct impact on our own state of mind – we feel happy if they are happy and we otherwise if a family member is facing difficult times; irrespective of what we may be experiencing in our own personal lives.
It is no surprise that all of us strive to keep our family happy and make their lives stress-free. But not all of us find it easy and succeed at that besides not all of our efforts successfully bring the desired results.
However, It can change. If only we tweak a few things here and there, inculcate certain habits and develop some routines.
After all, we are not the first ones to do this, Being a “Virgo”, a self-proclaimed critic, an advocate of “healthy perfectionism” and above all in my 40’s has given me the advantage of being able to analyze life and situations all around me and my acquaintances. Consequently, Along the way, I have picked up some of the most useful and practical tips contributing to a happy family.
Our lifestyles are to a certain degree controlled by our scheduler and the respective appointments. We dedicate time in our lives for daily chores, for work and errands, for our hobbies, for fixing things, most of all for earning money to spend on that family vacation that we have been longing for? Is there something like “Family Time” in our calendars?
It is imperative to dedicate some time to our family every day, especially in your 40s. Wrapping up all our work commitments at the office and avoid bringing work home. Staying off our phone and laptop while in the company of our family. In fact, even making that a family rule! No distractions during family time!
Mindfulness + Attention = Quality Time:
Merely spending some time with the family is not enough; those times together need to be fun-filled, enjoyable and memorable. No, I do not mean out for dinner or to a movie every day but to get out at least once a week. Chang the monotonous lifestyle and try something different like go watch a play, go for a picnic, participate in some adventure sports, bungee jumping! (well not quite, but you get the point!) or doing anything that guarantees quality time for your happy family. This is especially important if you have young kids. It will certainly bring the family closer and make you all want to be with each other even more. This is one of the topmost tips contributing to a happy family.
Genuine Concern & Interest:
One of the most fruitful ways to increase family happiness in your 40s is to develop and display a keen interest in what gets the family members excited. Talk to your partner about things that they would like to discuss, even being a good listener to them is a good start in your 40s. Get to know about the hobbies and interests of your kids and encourage them to pursue those hobbies along with leading a healthy lifestyle. Take out some time to read up on those topics and have discussions with your children about them. Remember that story that was doing rounds on the internet some time ago? A kid saving money to buy a Dad’s time for a day.
Expression of Love and Care:
There are certain things in life that are better left unspoken; such as your opinions about all the not so nice things going on around you. But expressing your love for your near and dear ones shouldn’t be one of those. Don’t hold yourself back from expressing your affinity for your family especially during your midlife or after 40s phase. Midlife usually brings a host of problems with it and they may sour your relationship with your happy family. A subtle reminder every now and then that you really love and care for them would do a world of good to you. It would ensure that your loved ones stay with you during your midlife crisis (read “midlife” ) and help you sail through it.
2 Ears & 1 Mouth! Is there a reason?
Sometimes, all we need is someone who’d hear out our thoughts. They don’t even need to understand our emotions or our line of thought; all they need to do is lend an ear. Be that someone for your family! And if one of your family members is going through a tough time, listen to whatever they have to say with rapt attention! No matter how illogical or irrational their thoughts may sound, just hear them out without judging them or trying to make them see the world from your eyes. By being a good listener, you would inspire confidence in your family about discussing anything with you, contributing to an understanding and happy family. They can share their problems or some secrets with you knowing that you would neither criticize them nor divulge the information.
Stand by them in their time of need
Lifestyle in your 40s can keep you occupied to a great an extent but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lend a hand when you can. When you are caught in strife, the one thing that you need the most is someone’s support; someone to stand by your hard times and inspire confidence in you to get out of it. And when that support comes from a parent, sibling or a spouse, there’s nothing better than that! So, show solidarity with your family when they need it the most. Be there for them physically, mentally, and emotionally. Your gesture would go a long way in relieving some of their stress and contributing to an understanding and happy family.
What do you think about it?
When you ask someone for their advice on an important personal matter, you make them feel important and valued. In your 40s you may be capable enough to take decisions by yourself, but consult your family before you make those big decisions in your life. Seek out their opinion on a subject that’s bothering you. Make an effort to see how they see that issue. Take their views on board when you make that decision and appreciate them for their help. If a family member struggles with low self-belief, asking for his/her advice would inspire a lot of confidence.
What shall we do?
In most families a lifestyle is developed, where decisions are taken by any one of the parents and joint decisions are generally towards an important one only. Why shouldn’t your kids have a say on where to go for a holiday? Why shouldn’t everyone be consulted before you decide to buy new furniture? If you want a happy family and to be close-knit, make a conscious effort to take joint decisions.
To err is human:
As a human being, each one of us is prone to making mistakes, except Roger Federer. But the key to a happy, healthy, and stress-free lifestyle is to forgive others for their errors; particularly if those ‘others’ are your family members. There is no point being upset with your family over a petty issue. It will only create discord within the family and hinder with the ‘happy family’ tag. When someone in the family makes a mistake, point out their error politely and tell them how it could have potentially hurt you but you love them too much to let that bother you. Ensure that you don’t come across as if you are projecting yourself as the bigger person as that could potentially aggravate the issue. Also, close the matter then and there. Don’t harp on it or bring it up again in a future argument. An important motto to follow in your 40s is, Forgive and forget!
You’d only be able to take care of your family’s well-being if you yourself are in good shape. If you don’t focus on your health, your deteriorating health would force you to do so. It will occupy all your attention plus the energy and you’d be spending lesser time with your family. Even when you would be with them, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy their company as much. Besides, your family too would get stressed about your wellness.
It is nice of you to offer your suggestions to your family on their important personal matters or tell them how you feel about certain things. But constantly ‘criticising’ and ‘advising’ them on the smallest of issues or tasks will only drive them away from you. Each of us needs our own space. When someone tries to get too involved in our lives, we perceive it as an intrusion of our space and a sign that the person doesn’t have faith in our ability to even pull off menial tasks successfully.
The importance that our family and their happiness hold in our lives cannot be overstated. The tips to make the family happy that have been discussed here would hopefully provide some insight. To take it a step forward, read some books on this topic.
Here is one of our top picks for starters:
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