Strengthening Family Bonds

I’ve got two teenagers living at home with me, currently aged 15 and 18.  Most of the time they want to be by themselves or with friends and we don’t get a lot of quality time together.  So I created something I call Pavlina Power Hour that has made a huge difference in our lives.  I want to share how we conduct our power hour in case you want to use it to help strengthen the relationships in your own family.

We set aside a time, usually 7 to 8pm, and everyone gathers in the loft.  The first thing we do is turn off our phones.  I learned the hard way that if our phones are active we are easily distracted.  And, yes, it was difficult to get them to agree to be without their phones for an hour.

The purpose of the power hour is to allow us to explore our thoughts, feelings, fears, accomplishments, and goals, and also to check in with each other, strengthen the family bond, and make sure we’re all doing okay.

Every power hour is a little different, but the one thing it has in common is that we go around the room asking and answering powerful questions and then discussing them.  Here are some examples of what we’ve done in the past.

“If you could go back in time and change one thing that has happened to you, what would you change and why?”  This gives us all incredible insight into what we feel “went wrong” in our lives.  Then we discuss how we can change things in the present to mitigate any damage we feel was done in the past.

“What are you struggling with in your life right now?”  This question allows us to identify our struggles which then allows us to brainstorm ways to help each other.

“What goals are you trying to achieve right now?”  This question allows each person to basically “state for the record” what they are working on and we brainstorm ways to help each person achieve his or her goals.

“If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?”  This allows us to stretch our imaginations, be a little silly, but also get some insight into each other.  It’s a fun one.

“What do you think your sister (or brother, or mom) does really well?”  This is a fun one too.  It’s really interesting seeing how other members of the family see you.

“What do you think your sister (or brother, or mom) needs to improve?”  This is always very insightful.  I have found it interesting to see what my kids think I’m struggling with and it gives me great insight into how they perceive others.

“What do you think YOU do extremely well?”  Checking on their self-esteem and awareness of their gifts.

“Where do you think you could improve?”  This is also a nice personal inventory to see if there are things they want to improve in themselves.

“Would you rather…?”  We have fun coming up with fun and crazy comparisons like “Would you rather only be allowed to eat salty foods or sweet foods for the rest of your life?”

You can come up with your own questions or if you Google a bit you can find pre-made lists of questions for various age groups.  A lot of people do this sort of thing at the dinner table, but people can get distracted while eating, and I have found that sitting there without any other distractions allows for deeper conversations.

Sometimes one of my kids will come to me and say “Mom, can we have a power hour tonight?  There’s something bothering me I want to discuss as a group.”  I love that they recognize the power and importance of having people you love around you to give you feedback, advice, and help.

When the hour is over we get in a nice little hug circle and express gratitude for our little family.  I hope this is something my kids end up doing with their kids.  It has been a really powerful way to connect to my kids.

You could probably even do this with friends or with a mastermind group.

In a day and age when a lot of people use social media to connect, it’s nice coming together in the “real world” and being there for each other.  I am so happy my kids are willing to do this with me.  I hope it’s a tradition for many years to come.

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