These are interesting times for family relationships. All of a sudden our personal space has been reduced, and contact with those we live with dramatically increased. We are finding ways to make space for working from home, learning and playing in new ways at home, exercising from home, cooking and eating at home, relaxing at home...space and distance travelled are all of a sudden different.
It’s a time perhaps to reflect then on the culture of our family. Not the culture of wider society, but specifically, the ways of being that are primary in the family you are currently part of. For some of us this is our family of origin, either though choice or necessity, for others it is our family of choice, the one we have created as an adult.
Culture is made up of what people do and say. It’s about the way we interact with each other. What is said, what is not said. What is allowed, what is forbidden. The dynamics of power, influence and control that are or are not present. The levels of independence, creativity, freedom, discipline, individuality, togetherness and consideration we show. The levels of privacy, physicality, spontaneity, play, structure...there are many, many aspects to how we are together.
Cultures can enable, and they can also stifle. They can uplift, and they can bring down. They can make us more of best selves, and being out the parts we would rather not embody.
We are not powerless in the way our family is. We can influence it, both individually, and as a whole family system.
Here are some useful questions to reflect on:
- What do I most enjoy about our relationship culture?
- What would I like to keep doing to contribute to this?
- What am I going to do more of?
- What am I going to start doing?
- What about our relationship culture is less helpful to wellbeing for members of the family?
- What am I going to do less of?
- What am I going to stop doing?
- What support do I need to help me make these changes?
- What support can I offer to others to help them be mindful of how they want to be?