How To Pass On Family Traditions and Create New Ones

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  • Post last modified:December 21, 2023
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Family traditions are an important part of creating a long-lasting healthy relationship with the members of our family. Traditions can bring everyone together which allows time for bonding. As parents we do our best to raise our children, passing on knowledge and beliefs as well as traditions. Traditions may change over time or perhaps you prefer to create new traditions with your family. Either way the social impact of traditions can be significant.

Social Development in Early Childhood

Children require a safe and loving environment in order to learn. This is made possible by establishing positive relationships with your child that make them feel safe and loved. When children feel unsafe, anxious, or even hungry it can reduce their ability to learn. Therefore it is crucial that strong healthy relationships are established early on so that children are able to thrive.

Social development begins during a child’s first year. Interactions with parents and caregivers lay the foundations of social interactions later on in life. During this time we are already beginning to pass knowledge and values on to our children.

Family Bonding

Given that the relationship we have with our families are the first social interactions children engage in, healthy development in children begins with building relationships with them.

It is important we take time to focus on our family and prioritizing family time. This can reinforce the bonds we’ve created and allow them to continue to grow.

On the other hand, unhealthy relationships can have a negative impact on a child’s development. It is possible that the values, beliefs, and customs we grew up with may be different from what we want for our own children. Not all traditions are good. We learn to how to be parents from the way we were parented. This, in a way, is a tradition. We then need to choose if we continue to parent the same way, change it slightly, or change it completely.

The Importance of Family Traditions

Traditions are a great way to help build and maintain the connections we have to our family members. They can create a sense of belonging, strengthen family bonds and connect us to those no longer here. They can provide structure and predictability to our lives. Often they are what can bring and hold a family together.

Family Traditions, according to Saul Levine, M.D., can help us achieve the “Four B’s”. Our senses of Being, Belonging, Believing, and Benevolence.

Being refers to appreciating ourselves and our strengths, and feeling grounded in our core identity in spite of our frailties and foibles.

Belonging refers to our personal comfort in knowing that we’re an integral part of some group(s), where we are respected and appreciated, perhaps loved by others.

Believing means that we have a set of “higher” (ie, non-material) principles and values by which we lead our lives, which can be religious or secular rules of ethical behavior.

Benevolence refers to the extent to which we enhance the lives of others – be they family, friends, or strangers – and leave a “Positive Emotional Footprint.”

A Profound Need for Our Traditions. Saul Levine, M.D.

Most families have some traditions whether they are minor or more significant. They can come in the form of values, beliefs or customs. Some traditions can be quite rigid and if that works for your family, great. However don’t be afraid to allow traditions to change and grow. Sometimes you may even need to take a break from them entirely and that is okay too. The details don’t matter, the important part is a sense of family unity.

We put our emotions into traditions which is why they become such an important part of our lives. They provide meaningful interactions that connect us from one generation to the next. Having something that you want to pass on to your children from generation to generation.

Passing on Family Traditions

We pass on many traditions unknowingly, children want to feel included and so willingly join in many traditions. If the tradition is something fun and enjoyable to everyone than that is something most people will want to take part in again.

Think back over your memories of childhood. What traditions stand out for you? Which do you want to pass on to your children?

For me growing up, we were always allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest had to wait until Christmas morning. The gift we opened on Christmas Eve was always a game. Something for the whole family to do together which is what we would spend our Christmas Eve doing. These are memories that really stand out in my mind from my childhood. They are fond, happy memories and for this reason it is something I want to pass on to my child.

family traditions

To pass on family traditions you can start by introducing it, keep it simple for younger children. If your children are older talk about it first. Get input from the whole family about how to carry on the tradition.

When passing on traditions remember to be flexible. Not all traditions are healthy or good. It is okay if traditions change over time, the important thing is for people to feel included and have fun.

How to Create New Family Traditions

As mentioned previously it is also possible to have unhealthy family dynamics. In this case you may not want to pass on the family traditions you grew up with. This is when it is time to create new traditions. What values and beliefs do you want to pass on to your children, what traditions do you want them to carry on?

When creating a new tradition be sure it is something fun and enjoyable. It doesn’t have to be complicated either, a simple tradition is often much easier to pass on and keep going. While many traditions are based around holidays, this is not a requirement, traditions can happen at anytime. As long as it is meaningful to your family and enjoyable that is all that matters.

Every tradition is as unique as the family it belongs to. How you pass them on or create new ones can be just as diverse. Remember to do what works best for you and your family.

Family traditions create a sense of unity. They provide predictability, comfort and a sense of belonging within our family. Positive social interactions are a fundamental part of our overall well-being. Establishing positive social interaction in early childhood and building healthy relationships are crucial to a child’s development. Engaging in traditions can further strengthen family relationships.

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