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Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Encourage Family Unity

 I grew up as one of five siblings.  We fought, but we always stuck together.  We even formed a "gang" that did anonymous good deeds for people.  We were individuals, but still a unified family.  I know that homeschooling contributed quite a bit to that sense of family as we spent most of our time with each other, but we each did have our own set of friends as well.

I see a lot of families where the kids (especially as they get a little older) all do their own thing.  There is sibling rivalry and a sense of competition between them.  I don't want this for my family or my children.

So how am I going to encourage a sense of unity between my children even though they won't be homeschooled?

First of all, I do not encourage a competitive spirit among my children.  There are friendly races occasionally, but we make sure we do not focus on winning, but rather on having fun as a family.

Secondly, I encourage each child to help the other one out and strive to make them proud of their individual roles in our family.  Princess, as the big sister, is honored that she is able to help care for her younger brother.  Little Man, although still very young, is encouraged to turn to his sister when he needs help while being shown at the same time that he can also take care of her (this goes along with teaching him to be a gentleman who respects women).

Thirdly, housekeeping and other tasks are to be done together when possible.  Because the kids are still so young, it's usually a necessity that we all work together, but I do plan to continue this as they grow older and more capable.  For instance, when I empty the dishwasher, Princess and Little Man work together to carry the dishes over to the counter on the other side of the kitchen so I can put the dishes away in the cupboard.  There is no competition to see who can do the most, in fact, Princess takes great pride in the fact that she can help her little brother pick out the lightest dishes to carry.

 How do you encourage a sense of unity in your family?

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  1. I love the pictures of your children in this post! My boys are bit older and maybe a little further apart (about 4 years) so they do tend to go their separate ways here and there but they do a good job of looking after each other. I've always gone the "you're setting an example" route with my oldest. He also has a very caring personality and great friends so I don't worry too much.

    1. Sounds like you've done a great job with your boys! I hope my kids still look out for each other when they get to be that old. I read somewhere that you shouldn't ever tell one child to be an example for the others since it can harbor resentment, but I don't find that to be the case at all! For my daughter, the responsibility of being a good example for her brother makes her feel mature and more protective of him.


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