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Roles and Responsibilities: Who does what?

Goals: What are we trying to accomplish with our children?

Family Meetings and Family Rules: How will we live together?

Family Identity: Who are we as a family?

Many times our success or failure as parents happens right here, and we don't even know it.  I understand if that sounds crazy to you.  Almost everybody I have ever worked with wants to blow right by this stuff and work on relationship or discipline issues instead. I used to honor those requests until experience taught me better.

Our ultimate goal here is a safe and nurturing family world to raise our children in - a world that makes sense, a world that has structure, a world that has purpose and direction.

Before we can build such a world, we need to figure out what we believe and why we believe it.  We need to figure out what we are trying to accomplish and why we are trying to accomplish it.  In short, we need to know who we are and where we are going.

If we have not taken the time to work through those kinds of questions, we will not be able to build a family world that functions properly or holds together when our children test it.  And test it they will.  That's their job.  That's how they learn and grow.  Our job is to make sure it olds together.

       "Why do I have to brush my teeth?"
       "Why won't you buy me what I want?"
       "Why should I tell the truth?"
       "But everybody has a smart phone!"
       "You are the worst, meanest mommie ever!"

Knowing who we are and what we are trying to accomplish is the key to being able to handle these challenges effectively.  We might need to improve our development & discipline skills as well, but our effectiveness always begins with believing in what we are doing.  

Our children are depending on us to create a family world that works.  They need a safe place that provides all the encouragement, guidance, accountability, and real life training they need.

A well-established family world does exactly that.  It also provides the structure our relationships and development & discipline need to be loving AND effective.  That can save us a huge amount of time, energy, and hard feelings when it comes to discipline.

*Our family structure is the tangible part we intentionally work on and build.  It includes our family rules, mission statement, values, etc.  It also includes our character goals and life skills lists.  Our family culture is more of a result that reflects what we have or have not accomplished with our family structure.  

Family structure - The way our family is built, arranged, organized, and/or governed.
Family culture - Our beliefs, values, morals, customs, behaviors, habits, and aspirations as a family.
Family world - Everything all together, our family structure and culture and home environment.