3 Ways to Maintain Family Relationships


Research that looked at relationships within families of Chinese immigrants in the United States revealed last month that close connections are good for mental heath.

The Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Ageing Research evidence showed that close, successful relationships benefit the cognitive health of the older generation.

“A tight-knit family type is the most common in Chinese culture because it aligns with filial piety, the traditional concept of caring for one’s ageing parents,” the report states. The researchers hypothesised that older Chinese immigrants with this family type would have better cognitive outcomes.

Learning from and working on our relationship skills is imperative whether we’re at our desk or enjoying downtime during holidays. Investing in your relationships needs daily effort at home as well as work.

In an article in Entrepreneur magazine, founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, Robert Glazer, investigates the ways in which being a parent is like running a business. He goes further by explaining that entrepreneurs can help the success of all members of their family by utilising their business skills.

I believe that we can also transfer our experience of maintaining family relationships to our relational ecosystem in business.

With the idea of transposing our knowledge, I want to share 3 areas that will help you maintain strong family relationships during the holiday season that you can use when you return to the office… wherever that might be!

Keep communicating

A healthy family talks and listens to every member and children should be encouraged to communicate. As in business relationships, if you keep channels of communication open it reduces the chances of misunderstandings.

Author and family psychology expert Dr Ken Druck says that, “Communication and active listening affords family members the opportunity to talk through differences and reaffirm the common ground on which they stand.”

One important element of communicating is listening. Don’t fall into the trap that due to their age, younger family members are less experienced so their views are worthless. Listen to their concerns without interrupting and don’t be hasty to play the ‘do as you’re told’ card. You will only fully understand someone if you listen to them.

Spend time with each other

In a recent blog, I explained during the early days of lockdown that while people were increasingly working from home, it was important to set aside family time each day. The disruptive, new regime could easily derail previous plans, leaving family relationships to suffer.

Investing time in any relationship demonstrates to others in your relational ecosystem their importance to you. Family members also need to understand their importance, so invest in them!

The more time you spend in someone’s company the closer your relationship becomes. Family relationships should be the closest, you might expect, but they can drift and issues can arise if we take them for granted.

Setting aside time to communicate – whether that is part of dinner or in addition to meal times – is not only a proactive way of communicating, it increases the time and bonds between relationships.

Opportunities to connect

By spending time together we open channels of communications in our relationships. While setting aside time is imperative, finding opportunities to connect is equally important.

During lockdown, I was asked about how we can connect with people without it feeling like we were ticking a box. One answer was to find opportunities to make a connection – and the same is true in family relationships.

A study by Delaware University that looked at building strong family relationships suggests, “Look for small moments that you can use to connect with your child.

Researchers say that spending frequent, brief amounts of time (as little as 1–2 minutes) involved in child-preferred activities is one of the most powerful things parents can do.

“You can make up stories together while doing chores, talk about concerns while on the way to the grocery store, read a book together while waiting for dinner to finish.”

It is astonishing how building relationships within a family have the same roots and methods of nurturing as in our business relational ecosystem. Take the opportunity to learn during your holiday. Remember how important relationships are to your cognitive health and well-being and you will return to you business life refreshed and renewed.

• When you return to work, would you like to know more about building success relationships? My Relationology Mastermind groups are now helping grow businesses through establishing authentic relationships. Find out more here.

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