Creating a Positive Family Culture

As we exit the holiday season and start the New Year, I have been reflecting a lot on the importance of quality time, tradition, and cultivating family culture.  Culture is defined in the Miriam Webster’s dictionary as, “a particular society that has its own beliefs, way of life, customs, art, etc.”  What this definition doesn’t explain is that culture is usually created very organically, and has many unwritten nuances and rules. The organic nature of culture is often so subtle that we rarely take the time to identify or consider what we are projecting as important to our children. So in an attempt to make us more aware and become more deliberate about or relationships and interactions, here are some questions to consider when assessing your current family culture:  What do I value most for my family? How and when do you communicate with each other? What traditions can your children count on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis? What do I want my children to remember about their childhood? How does our family address emotions? How has the family I grew up in influenced the family culture I have created for my children? What family dynamics would I like to change?

After evaluating what our current family culture looks like consider what changes you might make.  Children thrive on consistency so when implementing new traditions make sure they are scheduled and sustainable. You may even want to ask your children what family traditions they like, or help them feel closer to you.  By engaging your teenagers in the process of change they will be more receptive to the adjustments and more likely to engage in a new dynamic. If you are having trouble getting started, or need ideas as to how you might adapt a new family culture consult the list below.

Happy Parenting!


Weekly or daily:

Watch an episode of a T.V. show

Read a chapter of a book

Get an ice cream cone

Play a game (checkers, cards, horse)

Emotional check ins

Family dinner

Bike ride

Walk the dog

Creating a calendar

Watching a movie

Designated family night

15 minute dance party

Monthly or yearly:

Visit an extended family member.

Go on a weekend getaway

Prepare a meal together

Attend a concert, play, or sporting event

Go to an amusement park

Start a holiday tradition

Celebrate semester grades

Make a list of important topics and have deliberate family discussion

Create a work of art to hang in your home

Visit various college campuses

Date night with a parent