I admit it. I am a process guy. Throughout my life, I have not always been the best organized person, so I have learned how to develop processes for almost everything that I do. The good thing is that conceptualizing everything and boiling it down to a simple process comes pretty easy to me.
The bad thing is, process may produce efficiency, but it does not produce quality. Take family life for example. Rules, discipline, and consequences are so important in developing good habits in children. In my line of work, we try to help in the regard quite often. When life is chaotic, as it seems to be for so many these days, it helps to have a process for gauging appropriate behavior and providing rewards or consequences accordingly.
As important as process is, it takes creating an overall expectation for interaction and behavior that goes beyond just following rules in order to create caring, responsible adults. There are a few points of consideration that may help get beyond the mechanics of family life and begin working on a culture of positive interactions:
Communication- begin early. Babies are spoken to all the time. Somewhere along the line children get harder to talk to- but you can’t stop. If you want to be able to talk about the real problem areas of life for teens (and expect your teen to speak to you in return with honesty and candor), communication should be top priority. Speak about a variety of things, positive and negative. Give praise and constructive criticism as appropriate. Tell them what you like, and listen to what they like. Find enjoyment in being together.
Consistency- not only in your relationship with your child/family, but in every area of life. Inconsistency shows through in whether or not we do what we say we will do in all areas of life. Children and teens take notice.
Community- promote it in daily life. Moms, dads, brothers and sisters need to do things together at home and in public just because they’re family. Community provides context for conversation and allows family members to be themselves the presence of those closest to them. Common activities should be opportunities for everyone and not taken away from anyone in the family as a punishment.
Next time- process vs. culture in an organization.