Can you suggest a simple way to encourage family bonding?

Everyone needs to know and feel that they belong and play an important role in the family. They need to be involved in shaping the family culture in which they live and grow. Cultural traditions, like the shared canvas (described here), are rituals. Rituals act like glue that holds the family together. Families can develop their own rituals. Any event the family enjoys and does regularly can be a ritual. It might be a fancy Friday dinner, a walk together early every Saturday morning, or a regular walk up the local mountain. Another of our rituals is to take a daylong bike trip along Lake Michigan every summer. The best part is that there are no rules on how to define rituals. They just have to make you and your family feel special.

Rituals often begin with parents, but children’s values and ideas should also be reflected in their selection. If a child wants to introduce a new ritual, parents should allow it, knowing that this will make the child feel special. Each member of the family can establish rituals and weave them into the fabric of the group.

Bottom line: Any event that feels special to your family can be a ritual and serve to bring the group closer together.

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