The DIY Guide to building a family that lasts* looks at different aspects of family life that people often want to improve. The authors, two experienced counsellors, discuss different negative aspects of family life and provides tools on how to use positive behaviour to improve them. For example:
- Kindness rather than selfishness
- Trust rather than control
- Patience rather than anger
Why I wanted to read it
I hadn’t heard of the book before I saw it available for review on Netgalley*. I was interested in reading it as soon as I saw one of the authors was Gary Chapman. He wrote the Five Love Languages of Children which I read a couple of years ago and really made me think differently about how I communicate with my children.
I’m also aware that our children are heading towards puberty which could lead to an increase in moods and tension. I’d like to be armed with as many tools as possible, so I can react calmly and not push my children away.
My key takeaways
It takes effort to build a family that lasts but it is easy to get lazy and take relationships for granted and fail to prioritise family members. And “when we drift, we always drift apart”.
Once you realise you want things to be different it is easy to wait for others to change before you do. However, you have the power to model the behaviour you want your family to exhibit. This isn’t about changing everything in one go, it is about making small consistent steps.
All parents will have thoughts on how they’d like their children to behave as adults, such as being able to look after themselves and make wise decisions. The book asks how will our children learn if we make decisions and take actions for them? Therefore, it is important to increase our trust in their abilities and their “trust in themselves to be able to tackle life’s challenges.” As parents, we want our children to learn to make wise decisions. How will they learn if we make all the decisions for them?
I found the chapter on anger very interesting. The book acknowledges that anger happens and is “natural, healthy emotion”. The challenge is for the person feeling anger to find healthy productive ways to express it, and for other people to give them space, so they can process their thoughts and feelings.
Should you read The DIY Guide to Building a Family That lasts
One of the things I particularly enjoyed about the book was the focus on increasing the positive behaviours you want to see instead of reducing the negative behaviours. This feels much more effective and achievable.
I have to be honest that the home improvement metaphor did irritate me for a few chapters because I thought it was being over done and was being forced. However, while reading the chapter on anger and patience a tantrum happened in our house complete with door slamming. It really brought home the connection between shutting people out physically and mentally. After that moment, I realised the authors had created good connections between the features of a house and behaviours of a family, which will make it easier to remember positive behaviours to implement.
I read this book from start to finish. In the future I think it will become a reference book where I read the chapter that focuses on the negative behaviour I want to change.
If you are looking for tips that you can do to change the atmosphere in your house then yes I recommend the DIY Guide to becoming a family that lasts*.
*Disclaimer – I received an electronic version of this book in exchange for a review, all comments are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links which means if you buy something after following a link I will earn a percentage of the value but it does not cost you any more.