by Rebeccah Minazadeh
A great part of our self-awareness is how we perceive our family. A healthy and confident attitude about our family allows us to feel safe in the larger world. The exercise, “My Family is Special,” in Resilient Children, allows children to learn that each family is unique in its own way, and this is okay. It shows them that all families share similarities in some ways, too. Moreover, practicing this exercise with your children will show them that differences enrich our lives, and that we can bond and befriend others when we have a healthy perception of our own family.
For this exercise, show how families are unique and similar. For example, demonstrate that some are blended while some are nuclear. Some children have a single parent at home while others have both. Still, some have neither parents at home, and may live with a foster family, and adoptive family, and/or a guardian relative. For teachers, this is a fun discussion to have in the classroom about the qualities that make their families unique and similar.
You can make the conversation more intimate by showing that family members do not always agree, and this is okay too, as long as everyone respects each-others’ feelings and expresses themselves in a healthy and constructive way. Encourage the children to talk about how their families respond to stress and resolve their feelings. Having weekly meetings and keeping up a weekly family tradition, such as Friday night dinners and candle lighting, are important ways for your child to feel included and connected within your family.
Your child will carry the dynamics and role-play of your family into the outside world. By supplementing his/her childhood experiences with fun games and exercises found in Resilient Children, you can feel more confident that he/she will grow into a healthy, happy adult.