Rob Stringer

Article Summary:

Successful families don't just happen: Here's how can you can work towards a better family life.

Keys to a Better Family Life

Successful families don't just happen. They take time, talent and planning. This month, in addition to any personal resolutions you make, consider sitting down with your family to reflect on your collective accomplishments and dreams. Then set some family goals for the year ahead.

Set aside a few hours over a series of nights, and gather together everyone in your home. Your teens will need notice, but tasty treats might help attendance.

Share the purpose
You will be discussing your wants, dreams and the values you hold important in your lives, then using them to develop goals to guide your family.

Consider having each member choose and record one really important goal from each category: health, financial, relationships, career, and community, spiritual, intellectual.

Share your ideas. Be open and accepting. Some might need to a little coaxing to share, for fear of being ridiculed. However, if done in an atmosphere of mutual respect, this can be a great opportunity to really get to know your family. It can also give insight into people's frustrations and stressors, as you learn about the ideals they hold important in their lives Analyze Are they feasible? Are they specific enough? Look for similarities. Do any overlap with others?

Now collectively create a series of statements to both collapse and capture these common desires. These will become your family goals. For example:

  • We are kind and loving and thankful for all that we have.
  • We value & support family and friends
  • We exercise regularly and lead healthy lives.
  • We share our time, talents and resources with others.
  • We invest in the future financially and spiritually.
  • We strive for excellence in education, and encourage life-long learning.

You now have a set of goals to help guide your family's decision-making. Everyone can now weigh choices against these statements to determine if they lead your family closer or further from your family's goals.

Post & Review
Whether you frame your goals or carry copies in your wallets, take time each day, week, and month to reflect and review what you have accomplished. Are you making choices which support these goals?

Don't worry if you slip. Even the most effective families can be off track most of the time! The trick that keeps them on target is their shared sense of focus and destination. They know where they are headed, and they keep coming back to it. Thoughts to ponder:

  • Change is hard. Old habits are difficult to overcome. Be patient and supportive of one another.
  • Involve everyone. The process of family goal setting can help give family members a better sense of voice. Telling your family what their goals are will not promote acceptance.
  • Take your time. Creating family goals should be a process, not a one day event. Regardless of your family type big, small, divorced or blended, adoptive or otherwise, successful families don't just happen. So, make a plan and provide the focus needed to achieve your dreams and goals.

For additional information be sure to check out:

  • The On-Purpose Person: Making Your Life Make Sense by Kevin McCarthy
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen Covey
  • Family First: Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family by Dr. Phil McGraw

Rob Stringer is an award-winning educator, speaker and author who coaches parents with his upbeat approach to learning, and parenting. Rob is currently working on his first book, Parenting with Intention, and has launched a free monthly newsletter by the same name. Visit to subscribe, access resources, or learn more about PWI's parent coaching services. Learn how to begin each day as if it were on purpose... and parent with intention.

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