What things do you do to keep your family close-knit?


Also, what do you believe PREVENTS a family from being close-knit?


*For us, it’s tough with dh’s work schedule being such that he works weekends, and has off during the week. But, we make the most of it…and what helps us is praying together, whenever we are together as a family, having sit down dinners, and just spending time together talking about life, God, our days. When my husband isn’t home, I try to do that with my kids on my own…during the week with homework, religious ed classes for dd, and music lessons, I sometimes feel like our bonding time is spent in the car. :o But, when we are home, we try our best to spend good quality time together. Even when we’re grocery shopping, we have tried to start doing this together as a family, because it makes the job go quicker…and everyone can pick something special they want for dinner that week…

I am looking forward to some date night time however with dh for Valentine’s day…he has to work on ‘‘the’’ day, but we are going to have a nice romantic dinner out on Monday…just us two. :love: Í think spouses need that time now and again.

Relating to extended family…my dh calls his mom weekly…so do I. My kids talk with her also whenever dh calls her. I call my sister often…send emails to the family often. Make sure I try to get a birthday card in the mail for a sister in law…etc. We try to see family here in Florida for the holidays, not leaving anyone out. Because people are spreadout here in FL, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to stay close. Closeness is about keeping those relationships blossoming in our hearts. I love my family, and want them to know it…it’s important that we don’t lose touch.

Great thread idea, lovemyboys. :)*


No Oprah stuff. What I mean is the “each person tell one thing they did today at the table” type stuff. It sort of defeats the purpose.

But what you could do is make minor changes here and there, with the final goal of getting everybody closer together. If it is possible, try to eat together, with as much of your family on the table as possible. Also, try to strike up informal talks with your children or husband. Its funny how sometimes we talk nicely to our friends but not to our family. Just look at your family like friends that are going through some rough times, and try to fix it up just the same way as you would a friendship.

Good luck :thumbsup:

I will pray for you


That’s a question that could take forever to answer. Thinking of the term “close-knit” implies just that: CLOSENESS. So, in our family, having 4 daughters, we share a lot of things together. Sometimes after the meal is finished, we just sit and talk for as long as a half hour. We rarely get through a meal without bringing God, or the Church, or something about morality into the conversation. We “DO” a lot of things together. We don’t have TV (-normally, but just got it for the Olympics), don’t have any videogames, so we’re in a home that forces us to spend time together. I think because we do SO MUCH together, we really really like each other A LOT. Sure, we have disagreements (we’re human), but we’re always excited to share everything with each other.

We take family trips together -OFTEN-. I think that’s a key for us. We can’t afford much, but it’s important to get away together as a family. Oh, I could go on and on, but I think these are the most important. Of course we pray together, and that’s crucial. We attend weekday Mass together as much as possible. Adoration together sometimes, and then we share what our holy hour was like. And for me as a father, after God, my children are the MOST important thing in my life, AND, my children KNOW just how much their father cares for them, and will do ANTYTHING for them. Well, that’s my family anyway.


We go grocery shopping as a family, too. We actually try to do EVERYTHING possible as a family. We’re so excited to have fun, family time that every Friday is like a celebration. When we’re all together just playing a board game, that’s when we’re the happiest people in the world.

I’ve made a huge deal out of making our family and our home the fun spot and the haven from the cold, hard world because I feel I grew up in a distant family. I was a latchkey kid and what I remember most about childhood is loneliness. The message that I had growing up was that everything outside of the house was more important than anything going on inside of the house. We didn’t do hardly anything as a family, and my older siblings just stayed gone all of the time (and my parents worked all of the time). I remember being so excited if my mother had to call in sick from work. When my siblings were put in charge of me, they just resented the responsibility. I might talk to my sisters now once a year.


[quote="Joseph629, post:4, topic:186506"]
Of course we pray together, and that's crucial. We attend weekday Mass together as much as possible. Adoration together sometimes, and then we share what our holy hour was like. And for me as a father, after God, my children are the MOST important thing in my life, AND, my children KNOW just how much their father cares for them, and will do ANTYTHING for them. Well, that's my family anyway.


I wonder how my family life could have been different if my dad had been the "spiritual leader" of the family. Both my parents were agnostic-- that probably set the tone for the terribly empty feeling in my house growing up.


I’m looking forward to Valentine’s Day also!!! We make a huge deal out of every holiday-- it makes life more fun.


Shared experiences are one of the most important relationship builders, so you have to create those. If everyone in the family is running off to different activities, sleepovers, dinners at a friends house, etc. you have many fewer opportunities to build those ties within the family. It also helps quite a bit to start when they are younger so they grow up with that expectation rather than springing family dinners on teenagers who are used to grabbing something from the fridge and then connecting with friends electronically.

We have tried to keep our children close from when they were small–regular, low-key, fun things like watching a video together with popcorn or reading a book aloud together. Also building up memories and family traditions so that they are expected and comfortable. If a few of those family traditions can be centered around God so much the better–nighttime prayers, a weekly rosary, Mass and then pancakes for brunch.

I personally also found that never doing sleepovers has been a great idea. It cements the idea that the family come home to each other at the end of the day and starts off the day together before going out into the big world. It has made saying evening and morning prayers together a natural part of our days also. It may just be us, but I recommend it to all young parents! :smiley:

great thread…looking forward to all the responses.


COMMUNICATION is very important to stay in touch with relatives.

If there is bad gossip… it is best to call that person to find out if it is true and to get their side of the story. Too many family members take sides without hearing the truth.

My Mom lies a lot about us siblings so I always check out the lies. We siblings have what is called an underground communication technique of calling eachother to check out what Mom said about one of us. We then agree that she is lying. She always lies.

I have told her that when she dies we siblings will still have eachother. I tell her not to try to break us up because she can’t. She is very mean spirited and it is really sad that she may die an unhappy old lady. I wish she would change. I forgive her and I do my best to be nice to her. I do pray for her too.


I like your pancake after Mass idea. Kids like traditions-- especially related to food.

That’s interesting about sleepovers. Most parents encourage them. I used to try and push my teen to have sleepovers, feeling like that is what’s normal. Then I read the book Keep Your Kids Close-- Why Parents Should Matter More Than Peers (by Dr. Neufield) which was recommended on the Exceptional Marriages website. That book made me realize that if you have a teen who enjoys being home and isn’t obsessed with being with friends, that’s a really GOOOD thing. I HIGHLY recommend that book, btw.


I have that problem, too. I wonder why a parent would want to put a wedge between siblings. I tell my kids “These are your best friends for LIFE-- other friends will come and go but these people are your friends forever!” They believe me, too. I personally wish I had more siblings to be friends with.


Oh, I got the name of that book wrong-- it's HOLD ON TO Your Kids...


Thanks for the link!


I think you have and know one of the main secrets right there. MRs Sally said it too. I think, if anything, parents must try extra hard to make sure that a family “DOES” things together. Last night we sat as a family and watched the opening of the Olympics. Daugters ages 25-going into religious order after Easter, 23-home from college for a few days, 18-almost, 13-almost. We had a great family evening. Unlike a movie, we talked about the show as it progressed (Being Canadian, we didn’t like the jazzed-up National Anthom).

And I think that it’s never too late for families to start doing “MORE” things together. But yes, it takes work. Since my daugter is off from college for a few days, -and we homeschool-, the 6 of us are taking a few days and spending it together in a city. (we’re rural -far from a city). I’m sure we’ll have much fun.


With 4 daughters there must be fun 24/7 when everybody’s home!

Congratulations on the oldest becoming a nun. Wow!!!


Thank you. It’s one of Mother Angelica’s satellite (no pun intended) orders.

Yep, having 5 women and me in a house can be interesting. They always joke that there’s a reason why our dog is a male :smiley:


I think as children grow older, they often reflect back at their parents the relationship their parents have with them. If the parents don’t respect them, they won’t respect the parents. If the parents have low expectations of the children, kids have low expectations of their parents. If parents are respectful, share details of their lives, have high expectations of their children, and spend lots of time with their children, then that is how their children will most likely treat them as they grow up.

I find that the hardest thing for us is getting time with our kids when we aren’t tired and cranky lately. The economy has meant that we need to save up for when we lose our jobs (DH lost his last week, mine ends in one month), because we can’t guarentee that we’ll be able to find new work to replace the job we lost anytime soon. That means we need to prioritize work higher than normal, because feeding children and keeping them healthy is more important than spending time with them.


here are a few things we do:

Sunday Morning mass together, no exceptions
]Once a month, donuts or breakfast out after Sunday mass
*]Dinner at 5:00 and all must be home for dinner on Sunday (until they move out, and then its an open dinner invitation for them and friends)
Family Rosary* after sunday dinner dishes are finished
*]Game or Movie night on Fridays
*]Adoration Hour with my hubby once a week
*]No sleepovers
*]Kids share bedrooms

I'm sure there are more things we do, but I can't think of them all right now. I do try to instill a sense of individualtiy between my kids. I don't want them to feel tied down by family. So far my desire for balance of independence and closeness seem to be working. My oldest really wants to stay home for college as he doesn't want to leave his siblings :) I've told him he is welcome to stay. lol

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