1. Take time this week to eat dinner together as a family.  Turn the television off and use that time to talk with each other.
  2. Build something together ~  Whether it’s a house of cards with your 4 year old, a bird house with your 12 year old, or a cake with your 15 year old, take that time to not only build an object but to build your relationship.
  3. Be Curious ~ Get to know your child’s likes and dislikes.  What kind of music do they enjoy?  What activities do they tend to spend the majority of their time doing?  Are there things that they are struggling with?  How are their friends doing?   Showing that you are genuinely interested in the things that are important to them will help build a bridge of openness between you.
  4. Create a list of “House Rules – simple, clear guidelines for living with respect and order in your household.  Consider posting these (perhaps on the refrigerator or in a common area).  Communicate those rules to your children from an early age or start now, even if your child is older.
  5. Let your yes be yes and your no be no ~ Children of all ages thrive when there are clear boundaries.  When your child “tests your resolve (and he/she will), don’t waver.  Your child needs to see that what you’ve decided is for their good, and that you will follow though on disciplining and training them.  In time, the testing will lessen in frequency and severity because of your consistency.
  6. Make proactive decisions ahead of time about what you do and don’t want your child to see on TV, in movies, and on the internet.  Determine how much time you will allow them to interact with media each day.  Keep all media consumption under your watchful eyes, and consider collecting their phones when they go to bed.
  7. Listen ~ Read between the lines and learn to pick up the signals in your child’s conversation about what’s influencing him or her: friends, friends’ homes, media, school, bullying, peer pressure, etc.
  8. Start an ongoing conversation with your child about the importance of establishing boundaries for protection: for their body, mind, and spirit.  See everyday life as the living laboratory in which you can ask key questions and teach your child about what they should and shouldn’t allow into their hearts and minds – and why.
  9. Take at least 15 minutes each day to connect with each of your children.  Let them know that you love them and that you are proud of them.  Point out all of their best attributes and encourage them in those areas.
  10. Check out our free resources that will help you address many of the issues facing the family today.

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