How to Improve Family Relationships

In one of my meetings at church today Sister Rider presented some findings from an informal survey she conducted. I don’t remember the exact question she asked the young women, but I believe it was along the lines of if there was one thing your family could do to improve your relationship, what would it be? Out of the 27 young women she surveyed, twelve said something to the effect of holding family scripture study would improve their family. This was the most common item we saw. I believe the second most popular item was prayer in some form or another. What I was most shocked by though was an item that I heard about four times: less fighting, if my parents would stop fighting, …

I don’t know why because I see this all the time, but I was just shocked/appalled at how many of these young women reported their parents fighting as something that was inhibiting their family from coming together. I understand that there are lots of things that we can fight about as parents, but take a look at what it is doing to our children!

One thought that crossed my mind was how many young women wanted to say that, but were too afraid to and went with something more encompassing like holding family scripture study or family prayer. I have been so blessed with my wife to rarely fight. I certainly hope that we are able to keep our children from wishing that we fought less. (They will probably just wish like my wife that I left her alone more!) It just utterly scares me that 15% of young women in this sample reported issues with their parents fighting.

As for the main item of holding family scripture study, I think that is an honorable thing to ask. I’m sure the parents need more involvement from their children in making this happen. In fact, in another meeting with the youth today we asked them the same question and since we had a smaller group we were able to get more detail on it. Two of the youth in attendance said that while their families hold family scripture study and prayer daily, they didn’t feel that the family was really coming together and unified during this time. They felt that the task was being checked off a list instead of being an enjoyable activity to bring the family together. Clearly we need to work on improvement in this category as well.

I know that Megan and I need to continue to work on establishing habits now that we will instill in our children. For any other newlyweds out there, now is the time to figure out how you are going to establish your house of learning and house of faith.

What do you feel would bring your family together? Are there any tips you can offer to parents that may be spending too much of their precious time fighting?