Family + Summer = 24/7
Of all the things you’ll potentially do in your life—like sports, school, church, college, marriage, having children, backpacking across Europe—one very general activity is far more important an opportunity than the others: building healthy relationships. Relationships, like any challenge, take time and effort. But, when do you have the time and energy to make the connections with your loved ones stronger?
During the summer, when school’s out, you have no homework, the sun’s a’shinin’, and your days are full of TV reruns, trips to the pool and hanging out with friends, you’ll most likely end up spending a large chunk of your time with your family. Whether you’ve got a mom and a dad, four brothers, seven sisters, a single parent, a grandparent or grandparents, no siblings, a much older brother or much younger little sis, some of your summer fun will be invaded by that dreaded “family time.”
Maybe you’re going on a cruise together or spending a week in the mountains. Maybe you have to work at your mom’s shop or help your dad around the house for a few hours a day. Maybe none of these depict your family interactions at all, but regardless how you spend your summer break, you’ll probably see and communicate with your family a lot more than you do during the school year.
Reporting to your parent(s) every hour of the day can make you feel stifled and trapped. Though it seems like your parents are controlling and uncool, and want to ruin all your fun and freedom, you must give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that they really do know best and intend to look out for you. Make a choice to demonstrate responsibility to your parents, building their trust and increasing your freedom by strengthening your relationship with them.
Sometimes being around your siblings becomes overwhelming…sharing the TV remote with your brother who only likes watching WWF (wrestling). But keep in mind, your siblings are most likely feeling an invasion of space as well, so don’t get mad and feel isolated or attacked (instead, hand that remote to your brother and head out for a bike ride). Try to gauge your interdependence and set up boundaries with your siblings if you have them. Kindly expressed boundaries show an intention to make the relationship better through respect and care. Rather than getting angry or putting up walls, make time to talk and work through your problems. Most young people feel like their “space” is being crowded when spending a lot of time with family, so talk to your brothers and/or sisters and set apart specific time for each other if you can.
Your family is your family forever.
As much as you love your friends, you’ll grow and change and very few of the people you know best right now will be around your whole life. Your family, however, is your family forever. They’re not going anywhere, so learn to love and honor them. As you get older, you’ll start to value them more and begin to regret the nasty ways you treated them when you were younger. If you plan on having kids someday, think about how much you’ll adore them and how much you’ll love being involved in their lives.
Most importantly, try to remember that perseverance builds character and “putting up with” your crazy family through the long summer months will help you mature and grow and bring you closer to becoming the honorable, patient young woman you seek to be.