voiceBoks® - The Voice of Parenthood

Family Closeness ~ Are you for or against?

When I was about 14 years old, I invited a boy over for lunch at our family’s house. He wasn’t my boyfriend or anything. He was just a friend who lived about 2 blocks from my house and just enjoyed hanging out with my family. Why?

“I love sitting around a table with the whole family,” he would say.

Source: Babycenter.com
Source: Babycenter.com

At the time, I never actually felt it as anything, but as I grew up, I started to realize that there were a lot of families or friends of mine who didn’t have meals with their families on a regular basis. In fact, right after high school, most of the kids moved out into dorms or just left home to “grow up.”

It is a really awesome thing to see an individual who is independent, very strong, sure of themselves, and perhaps even incredibly successful. Someone who knows how to fend for themselves and help themselves in the worst and best situations is definitely very inspiring to look up to.  These are all positive aspects, but are there any possible negative aspects?

I have seen many of my friends who have grown up in households, where the family closeness just isn’t there.  How did they end up?  Of course everyone is different and I can’t say they all grew up the same, but I definitely see a major difference.  Those who weren’t very close to their families, always complained about being lonely, not understanding why they can’t be in a good relationship, haven’t seen their moms or dads in years, don’t care too much about their sister or even know much about her at all, or just doesn’t understand what the fuss about family truly is.

Family, to me, is my life.  I feel stressed every time I visit my parents, but I absolutely love them like I love both my legs. I know I would do anything for them and feel like there is always a part of me that feels as if I am always safe or secure, because I know that no matter how hard I fall, they will always be there for me. I may not like half the lectures or things they say to me, but if something truly horrible was to happen to me, they will be there to do everything in their power to make it all better.

During our teenage years, we lived in a gang-infested city. My brother had a bad group of friends and got mixed up with drugs and ended up having to do 13 years of his life in prison.  He has 2 years left and since he’s been in there, my parents have spent every single weekend visiting him. They missed only 1 weekend, which was the weekend I got married.  He had been transferred to 4 different prisons and 2 of them were 3 hours of a drive away.  Still, my parents did everything they could to make sure they visited him.

Prison visits are just horrible. The guards are horrible to you and the whole process that takes place before you actually get to see an inmate is just incredibly unpleasant. Still … my parents always visited. I try to go at least every other weekend, because I am very close to my brother. Did any of the other friends he hung out with ever visit him? Nope! Not a single one.

About 12 years ago, I was married to a man who had a normal life, never hurt anyone, and always had such an independent life. He wasn’t very close to his parents or brother at all. Then one day, he became an accessory to a crime that he had no idea was ever happening and ended up in prison. He did 6 years. None of his family, including his parents, visited him, but me.  It was very sad. It was the worst time of his life and when something that horrible happens, the support of your family can be very helpful in so many different ways.

I love seeing parents who pay a lot of attention to their kids and the ways they feel their kids can best grow and develop.  I love when I see happy children who absolutely love and adore their parents, their siblings, and their family.

When I hear about parents like Mayim Bialik, from The Big Bang Theory, being bashed for her parenting styles, I just think … shame on them who judge. It is wonderful to see moms like her who practice attachment parenting and isn’t afraid to talk about it publicly, because it does promote family closeness and togetherness. Sure it may be different and shocking to some, but I feel that as parents, we all deserve a little bit of respect for trying to promote goodness in our children.

There are thousands of books about parenting this and parenting that. The truth is, we all know that there are no true books and guides to actual parenting. There are no books that can tell us what the next day will bring. We all have to live it and do what we feel in our hearts is best. After all, there is a reason mothers have their own rare and unique “instincts.”

 

Lexie Lane

Lexie Lane is the creator of voiceBoks.com, owner of Social Media Panel, and co-author of the book, The Blogger's Survival Guide Tips and Tricks for Parent Bloggers Wordsmiths and Enthusiasts.

25 comments

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  • Great post! I am all about family too and sometimes just the simple things like making sure you have meals together or enjoy a favorite tv show or a good walk. I was raised like that and I did my best to raise my children like that also.

  • I think it’s great when families are so close! Growing up, we had dinner together as a family every night! I try my best to do family dinners now, but some nights it just doesn’t happen.

  • With my parents, every family dinner ended up in an argument. Someone always said or did something that offended my Mother. So we all had to suffer for it. I *hated* them.

    Fast forward to 1993, when I met husband, and started hanging out with with his family. Talk about a family experience that was how things are supposed to be. Over the years, I have learned to fully enjoy spending time with his family, and we make sure we have that same atmosphere with our boys.

    To this day, spending time with my parents is an obligation, and not something we look forward to……at all.

  • Same here, I’m all for family members being close to each other. I’m 30 years old and now have a family of my own, but I live next door to my grandmother, and to my brother who also has a family of his own. 🙂

  • I grew up in a family where we had dinner together, but the TV always invited itself to join us, so we didn’t talk much. We didn’t spend a lot of time with other relatives until my mother reconnected with her sister. Then we were together almost every week-end. It was not good for my brother and I. They had a different set of morals. I married into a family that really loves each other, as in 70 people for Thanksgiving dinner love. My grown children are so blessed to have this kind of family. I wish everyone could have it.

  • Family is really important and everyone always needs that little bit of love and affection. My family is very close and I will always appreciate them for that! Without their support and help, I would have never be where I am today!

  • Every parenting style is different and none are 100% correct except what is right for them as a family unit. We need to stop judging and start accepting! 🙂

  • I can feel your sentiment, Lexie. Family is so important. I came to a point that I lost my job because I had to attend to a family member who had seizures. I did not regret my choice one single bit. Being a Filipino taught me that the most important thing after God is family.

    Thanks for posting!

  • I think family closeness is fairly important. I have to say that I am not as close to my family as I am with my husband’s side. It’s not that I don’t think it is important, my family is always busy with work or other activities. Of course, my mom passed away several years ago and it hasn’t been the same without her. I was always closer to my mom because we would do things together. I think if she was still here, I would spend quite a bit of time with her doing things we all enjoy.

  • Phew, what two stories you shared. Prison is indeed a rough thing to go through. Thankfully I never have, but I did go to military prison briefly for arriving late to some check up and it was not pleasant at all. :/ Thanks for sharing this lovely post and sharing your experiences. Family is everything, truly.

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences, I feel like I get to know you better with each one that I read. I love the idea of a close family and mine is (though we have had ups and downs). I’m thankful.

  • Yes, I think families should be close and actually mine was when I think about it-and yes, most of my friends tended to hang out at my house! As a Mom (or a Dad) you have to do what you believe is best for your child–no child is exactly the same which is why “parenting” books rarely really help!

  • I’m thankful to have grown up in a pretty close family, even though my parents had their differences and would fight often – but the extended family was an example to me. Then I married a man, one of 6 kids, whose family is REALLY close and I’m so blessed to be raising our children with him. Family truly is important to us and comes first, I’m glad my kids get to see that every day. 🙂

  • As I write this, my son and his four college BFFs are following our car to Busch Gardens. The group invaded out home for fall break. They had plans to spend today at BG. We (hubby, 2 younger kids and I) weren’t planning to go. But, when your independent, adult son says, “can you guys work it out to go with us?” You go!

    Your eyes fill with years as you realize all those years of family dinners, many pleasant, some not, led to this day.

    My heart is full! Loving our kids means being there for them, whether it’s college, prison or someplace else.

  • I have to agree with Terry! A family should always be supportive, loving, caring, encouraging, calming and we should all be close to each other! 🙂

  • our family has always been close …my husbands not so much it was so weird for him to see me hop into bed if my Mom was laying down when we would pop in for a visit…she’s had many medical issues and is resting A LOT and all my life I thought nothing was odd about jumping on her bed to carry on a conversations with her. I have “camp out” nights with my kids one or twice a month–it just works for us, might not be for everyone, but we like it.

  • I’m all for family closeness. When a child is missing that, he or she will crave for it in adulthood. It affects their sense of security, and all other aspects of their lives. So while we have the chance now, we should try to spend lots of time with our kids. Mealtimes are a good opportunity to strengthen those bonds.