Creating Memorable Holiday Rituals
ANSWER: Enjoyable family rituals are crucial to family health and well being. What makes family rituals a positive experience is the meaning created in the family, and the bonding that occurs between family members.
The fact that neither of you have fond memories of family rituals may be due to the unconscious manner in which they were carried out. Without consciously shaping our family rituals, they can develop into unsatisfying interactions, spawning disengagement rather than connection. In his book, "The Intentional Family", (Addison-Wesley, 1997) William Doherty warns us that family rituals must be done intentionally. Bringing the family together for evening dinners for example, is not enough, by itself, to create a positive result.
Parents need to take an active role in sharing leadership of the ritual and be conscious of creating a positive outcome. The following guidelines can help you develop your own successful family rituals whether they are daily practices or holiday ceremonies.
The making of your family rituals are a work in progress. Consciously protect your family celebrations from divisive tensions. Stresses will naturally occur. Keep in mind that your overall goal is to experience enough warmth and enjoyment that the end result is that family members want to spend time together. Satisfying family rituals are not just a good idea. They help ensure that your family relationships endure throughout the life cycle.
Gayle Peterson, MSSW, LCSW, PhD is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model and is the author of An Easier Childbirth, Birthing Normally and her latest book, Making Healthy Families. Her articles on family relationships appear in professional journals and she is an oft-quoted expert in popular magazines such as Woman's Day, Mothering and Parenting. . She also serves on the advisory board for Fit Pregnancy Magazine.
Dr. Gayle Peterson has written family columns for ParentsPlace.com, igrandparents.com, the Bay Area's Parents Press newspaper and the Sierra Foothill's Family Post. She has also hosted a live radio show, "Ask Dr. Gayle" on www.ivillage.com, answering questions on family relationships and parenting. Dr. Peterson has appeared on numerous radio and television interviews including Canadian broadcast as a family and communications expert in the twelve part documentary "Baby's Best Chance". She is former clinical director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy University in Northern California and adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. A national public speaker on women's issues and family development, Gayle Peterson practices psychotherapy in Oakland, California and Nevada City, California. She also offers an online certification training program in Prenatal Counseling and Birth Hypnosis. Gayle and is a wife, mother of two adult children and a proud grandmother of three lively boys and one sparkling granddaughter.
Copyright 1996-2003. Gayle Peterson All rights reserved.