The concept of family bonding has taken a back seat in the modern day world because both parents need to work round the clock to put food on the table and pay the bills. This leaves no time to give proper attention and care to the children in the house which is exactly why most children in modern families are devoid of the correct upbringing. Many parents fail to understand the importance of spending quality time with their children because they feel providing for them is enough but studies have showed that children who are part of close-knit families are more thoughtful, confident, strong and caring when they grow up.
It is interesting to note that things were not always like the way it is now; earlier the concept of family bonding was much stronger. ‘When I was young, I was very close to not only my parents but also my other relatives. We would often meet up and spend time together. There was a time when celebrating festivals only meant family reunions. I remember how my cousins and I would wait for Bihu and Durga Puja because it meant long trips to ancestral homes, never-ending play time, fun conversations with family members and gorging on home-cooked food. No matter how much work father had, there was no question of not going to koka’s house during holidays and festivals. But nowadays, things have changed and even during festivals people don’t make an effort to spend quality time with family. Maybe it is the lack of free time or immense amount of work stress but families no longer bond like they used to before,’ says Aradhana Bora, Teacher.
Things started to take a turn when the concept of the nuclear family came to become the norm. The nuclear family is a term used to define a family group consisting of a pair of adults and their children. It is unlike an extended family which is a family that extends beyond the immediate family, consisting of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all living nearby or in the same household. There are still many extended families residing across the region but the numbers are quite less as compared to the number of nuclear families. It should be noted that children in extended families have a better upbringing because even when the parents are at work, there are responsible adults in the house to guide them but in case of nuclear families, the child tends to spend a lot of time on his/her own without any kind of proper guidance and is likely to develop emotional and behavioural disorders.
Benefits of Family Bonding
It is important for every family to embrace the concept of family bonding as it can help raise happy and healthy children. It is one of the best ways to model expected behaviours which teaches young children the right way to interact with family and friends. Spending quality time can also open communication lines between you and your children. More often than not, parents find it difficult to understand their children because of the lack of communication but family bonding can help children become more open and receptive towards their parents. ‘Being the father of a 14 year old is not easy but I think spending quality family time helps bring you closer to your children. My child is at a stage in life which is very crucial in terms of personality development, and I feel it is important for me to take an interest in his life, his hobbies, and his friends so that I can guide and groom him well. I also think that parents should try to be on friendly terms with their children and talk freely about philosophy, spirituality, brotherhood, peace and harmony,’ shares Mazhirul Hussain, Manager, Chota Tingrai Tea State.
The first thing that working parents should do is separate home and work. Do not bring work home because you will be unable to chalk out free time to spend with your children. When it comes to family bonding, there is no set rule as to what activity you can do together. Every family has their own mantra when it comes to spending quality time together. But before you start planning elaborate family vacations, we suggest you start out small. Begin by sitting down for dinner together every night or helping your kids with their homework. In case of very young children, you can start by reading to them before bedtime.
Make the Change
It’s never too late to improve your family dynamics, do your best to bridge the gap between you and your children today. It all comes down to how well you can identify your priorities and manage time accordingly. Managing time might seem tricky at first but eventually you will get the hang of it. Ashwini Khataniar, Businessman, father of three shares, ‘I feel that time constraint is just an excuse that parents use, there is always time, you just have to know how to manage it wisely. I have a very strong bond with my children because I make time to have fruitful conversations with them about everything under the sun. I want them to think me as a friend as well as I don’t want them to be distant or fear me, if they love and respect me then they can share anything with me and I can guide them down the right path. For a working parent like myself, I get little time to myself but I feel spending some of my free time with my children maybe in the morning or before bedtime is not only productive for them but for me as well.’
This article was first published in Eclectic Northeast (November 2014 issue)