To keep a family functional asks for constant attention and work towards the goal.
Elements of fostering your family to be Functional:
- Accentuate the distinctiveness of every family member.
- Look for and encourage a balance between individuality and togetherness in the family.
- Be consistent in the messages you communicate.
- Practice immediate but appropriate discipline. Don’t delay in your discipline of a kid. It is furthermore a matter of judgment what the appropriate disciplinary action should be – pray for God’s leading in this. “He who … loves [his child] is careful to discipline him.” (Proverbs 13:24)
- Allow a generous margin for mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes, and so does your child. Discern if the child made a mistake or was there a malicious element or testing the boundaries of your discipline. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
- Encourage the appropriate expression of feelings. When family members show their feelings, make it a safe place for the one who makes him/herself vulnerable. Appropriate show of feelings is healthy. “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” (Proverbs 20:5)
- Promote and develop natural talents and abilities. Foster each family member’s abilities and talents. Give that person in the family the space, time, opportunities (as far as it is financially affordable), acknowledgement and encouragement necessary. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
- Require family members to take responsibility for their own attitudes and actions. Hold each other accountable for what the family member say, think, and do. “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.” (Galatians 6:4–5)
- Treat everyone with love and respect. Every family deserves to be respected, loved and be heard. “Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14)
- Nurture a dependence on the Lord. Read the Bible as a family, pray together, and if you can sing, praise the Lord together. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6)
A poor background is a poor excuse for poor behaviour. With the power of Christ inside you, your past should not overpower you. Never give the past the power that Christ alone should have. “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)