Is Your Teen Comfortable With Having Friends Over?
Is your happiness dependent on your teen’s happiness?
Can your daughter relax at your house? Is your teen comfortable with having friends over? Do you like being in your home?
If you answered yes you have a thriving home environment.
A thriving home environment is key to having a happy, healthy, and productive home.
What is a thriving home environment?
A thriving home environment is all the circumstances, conditions, or factors that enable and encourage your family to thrive.
Your daughter can be fabulous, but if she is planted in stressful or negative soil she is not going to thrive.
I love to garden, but not during the Houston summer. The triple digits of heat and humidity are relentless, and take a toll on plants and flowers. Even though I consistently water the plants, they wither and turn brown under the extreme heat. These same plants in April are green, growing, and budding with flowers.
What’s the difference? Why did these plants flourish in April?
The weather conditions were perfect for the plants to thrive in. It’s not the plants fault; it was the environment that made the difference.
Just like the plants, your daughter is going to flourish in the right conditions.
See it’s tempting to blame everything on your daughter, but there could be some things you can change in the home environment that will help her thrive.
I believe a thriving home environment is bigger and more influential than all your teens’ drama or negativity. Instead of you and your family getting sucked into her drama vortex; she can be drawn into the health, love, optimism and encouragement of a thriving home environment.
It’s easy to focus on what you don’t want at home, instead of focusing on what you do want.
I wish the fighting would stop. I’m sick of her attitude and anger.
It’s important to be intentional about what you do want. I want to enjoy my family and spend quality time with them.
And here’s the deal. This is not a onetime thing. It’s good to constantly reevaluate the home environment, because the busyness of our daily lives can take over.
6 Ways to Create a Thriving Home Environment
1. Get clear about what you want for your home
How would you describe a thriving home environment in one word?
Peaceful, positive, safe, warm, respectful, fun, loving, connected, playful, organized, relaxing.
2. Have a No Drama Policy
The foundation of a Thriving Home Environment is emotional and physical safety. When there are constant screaming, threats, belittling or shaming words, no one can thrive. This is why everyone in your family needs to agree to a No Drama Policy.
Establish a No Drama Policy.
Drama is when one or more persons gets emotionally flooded and loses control. This lack of control comes in the form of yelling, raising your voice, throwing things, slamming doors, pushing, threatening, shaming, name calling, and throwing out obscenities. It is crucial that you get your partner on board with this.
In order to implement a No Drama Policy your family needs a “Calm Down” strategy.
A key factor in the “Calm Down” strategy is giving each other space. You need space to calm down. After you calm down, then you can have conversations with other family members. But the first step is to calm down.
For example if your daughter comes home from school upset, don’t pry right away. Let her find her own ways to calm down. She may calm down by listening to her iPod, Facebook, TV, exercising, and chatting with her friends.
But this needs to happen for everyone in the family, not just your daughter. Everyone in the home needs to identify their strategy for calming down. This could be listening to music, praying, meditating, talking to friends, going for a run, going to the gym, or reading a book. “Calm Down” strategy is finding something that will distract you, so you are physically able to calm down.
3. Be a stress buster by cultivating downtime
Stress is the big enemy. It robs your family of joy, love, and laughter. 90 percent of all conflict in your home is caused by stress. Because of this you need to intentionally and systematically decrease stress.
There are many ways to decrease stress in the home but one huge way is by cultivating downtime in your home. A healthy family is not just a productive family. It’s a family who can chill, relax and rest. This is where the Kodak memories come from. They sure don’t come when you’re stressed.
Downtime just doesn’t happen, it’s being eaten up by over packed schedules. Today, you have to move mountains of activities to get it in your schedule.
Downtime can transform your family for 2 big reasons. It decreases pressure which allows your body to relax, and it cultivates positive connections and experiences in your family.
When you are relaxed you are more present to the people around you. I saw this all the time when I was a youth minister in the 80’s. Kids would entertain themselves doing absolutely nothing and they were hilarious. They would do stupid human tricks. You know the girl who can put her leg behind her head. They would throw ice on each other.
Though this looks like a complete waste of time to parents, the kids were de-stressing, relaxing and having positive experiences with each other.
4. Create a “teen friendly” atmosphere.
“Teen friendly” doesn’t mean that you have an olympic size swimming pool in your backyard or have a movie theatre inside your home.
It doesn’t mean that you slip a beer to a kid, or turn your head when they are in the backyard.
Quite the contrary, a thriving home environment has clear rules and boundaries that protect the teens.
A “teen friendly” home is when kids know you like them and that they are welcome. There needs to be a relaxed atmosphere where the kids feel free to lounge around, raid your refrigerator, laugh loudly, play their music, and have fun. If they sense tension and distance from you they will find another house to hang out in.
5. Create a Family Mission Statement
Get your family on board by creating a mission statement. At a family meeting ask them what they want the atmosphere of the home to be like. Have them throw out one word or sentence that would describe what it would be like.
Example: I want my home to be a place of order and beauty. I want everyone to feel comfortable in our home. I want to be able to chill with my friends.
6. Be intentional encouragers
When you live with someone, especially a teenager it’s easy to see the negative. It may feel natural to point out what’s wrong with her or any other family member, but it does not build a thriving atmosphere. If you are going to have a thriving home environment, encouragement, praise and gratitude needs to far outweigh the “helpful” criticism.
Turn this around by being intentional encouragers. Challenge yourself to say one encouraging thing a day to everyone in your family.
Here are some Tips for helpful praise and encouragement
- Praise the effort is more helpful than praising underlying ability
- Specific praise is more helpful than generic
- Praise should be sincere
- Praise should not be overdone
What is your first step to creating a Thriving Home Environment?