What does it take for a family to remodel itself? Is it possible that it’s slightly like remodeling a home or room? We remodeled our home in three weeks. Can a family also be remodeled that fast? The answer is “yes!” This is how I have seen it happen over and over again in less time than it took our family to remodel this room this December. The before-and-after photos definitely show a major contrast.
For the past seven years our family has wanted to remodel the kitchen/family room area of our home. The floors were especially awful and needed to go. Floors are the foundation of a room and can either make or break the space. The floors got to the point that I was actually apologizing regularly for how bad they looked. I knew the whole room was bad and need to be remodeled — so it seemed like blaming the floors was the thing to do.
In three weeks it all changed. Right after Thanksgiving our family started dismantling an 18-year-old section of our home. After three weeks of tearing out the old followed by re-structuring and building it back up, it actually looked like the Peck family had moved to a new home.
As I ponder this home remodel project, I realize that what we did to our home is no different than what every family must do to switch from how they are currently living and communicating as a family to a self-governing family that communicates effectively and has unity.
5 Steps For Remodeling Your Family
1. Dismantle and dejunk
Before a room can be remodeled the old not effective pieces of the room must be acknowledged and removed.
The same is true for a family when it’s under going a relationship remodel. The family should look at what kind of family it wants to become and then acknowledge what the family is doing that leads it away from its goal. Once the family knows what it wants and what is standing in the way, then it’s time to remove the problem behaviors. Then and only then is the family prepared for new, more effective and functional skills and behaviors.
2. Floors and foundations
Everything in a room rests on the flooring. The flooring hooks everything together, as well as offers stability, durability, functionality and unity for all the fixtures and furnishings.
Likewise, in family relationships the foundational principles and understandings the family shares are the foundation for their interactions and relationships. A family’s religious beliefs, morals, values and priorities are the beginning of the principles a family holds dear. For instance, a family may believe in the principle of respect, which is rooted in their understanding of family roles — which in turn were defined by their religious beliefs. If a family wants to be a self-governing family, the family must understand what self-government is. Other foundational understandings are concepts like:
- The purpose of a family
- A clear understanding of the roles of each family member
Probably the most essential principle for understanding family unity is knowing what unity is based on and how it relates to family happiness. Family members cannot function properly without a foundational knowledge of who they are and where they are going and why.
3. Reconfiguration of the space
When we removed the old components that needed to leave our living space, we saw that the cabinets were still good, but the order they were configured in was not really working. We took the existing cabinets, cut them up and reconfigured them, as well as added a few more to make our living space more functional.
Families may also have elements that are good, like family meetings or regular family activities and routines. But sometimes they might need to be reconfigured, or adjusted, to make them more effective. Sometimes a family doesn’t need to make everything about the way they communicate new, they might just need to add a few new elements and make what they’re doing more functional and pleasing for the family goals. Family meetings and activities, as well as communication and problem solving structures, can always be analyzed and adjusted to make family life more comfortable and purposeful.
4. Working parts need to be updated
The counters, sink, faucet, bookshelves, appliances, and other working parts of the room needed to be updated and replaced because they were not helping us accomplish what we wanted to accomplish in our home.
When a family adopts new skills for communication and problem solving, like the Four Basic Skills that are taught in Parenting A House United, the family is essentially updating the working parts of the family. The communication the family has with each other is where all the work happens. If the skills, or tools, the family has for communicating are not working, then the family feels ineffective and stagnant. Sure, it costs a bit more time and energy to get the new skills working in the family, but like new appliances and a new kitchen sink, it’s worth it!
5. The look and feel of the room
For our remodel we wanted to the room to feel like a whole new house, so we chose new colors for the walls and cabinets, as well as new lights and fixtures. These new colors and textures created a new tone to the whole area. This new tone had a magical effect. Everyone in the family wants to protect the tone so they just naturally keep the area clean — creating a continual peaceful and comfortable feeling.
When a family is going to remodel their family, one of the key pieces that needs adjustment for most families is the tone the family has, or how the group feels when they’re together. One person can change a whole tone for a family. Consciously planning the tone and making sure the communications the family uses support the plan will create a place where family and friends will want to gather because it feels so warm and comfortable.
This New Year maybe it is time for a family remodel. Join me at the Parenting Mastery Retreat in February for your three-day family makeover.