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What does it take for a family to remodel itself? Is it possible that it is slightly like remodeling a home or room? We remodeled our home in three weeks. Can a family be remodeled that fast too? The answer is yes. This is how I have seen it happen time and time again in less time than it took our family to remodel this room this December. The before and after photos definitely contrast.

For the past seven years our family has wanted to remodel the kitchen/family room area of our home. The floors especially were awful and needed to go. Floors are the foundation of a room and can either make the space or break the space. The floors got to the point that I was actually apologizing regularly for how bad they looked. I knew the whole room was bad and need to be remodeled but it seemed like blaming the floors was the thing to do.

In three weeks it all changed. Right after Thanksgiving this year our family started dismantling a section of our home of 18 years. After three weeks of tearing out and then re-structuring and building back up it looked like the Peck family had moved.

As I ponder this home remodel project I realize that what we did to our home is no different than what every family must do to switch from how they are living and communicating as a family now to a self-governing family who communicates effectively and has unity.

BeforeKitchen

KitchenAfter2015

5 Steps For Remodeling Your Family

1. Dismantel and dejunk

Before a room can be remodeled the old not effective pieces of the room must be acknowledged and removed.

The same is true for a family when they are doing a relationship remodel. The family should look at what kind of family they want to become and then acknowledge what they are doing that leads them away from their goal. Once the family knows what it wants and what is standing in the way it is time to remove the problem behaviors to prepare for new more effective and functional skills and behaviors.

2. Floors and foundations

Everything in a room rests on the flooring. The flooring hooks everything together, offers stability, durability, functionality, and unity for all the fixtures and furnishings.

Likewise, in family relationships the foundational principles and understandings the family shares are the foundation for their interactions and relationships. A family’s religious beliefs, morals, values and priorities are the beginning of the principles a family holds dear. For instance, a family may believe in the principle of respect, which is rooted in their understanding of family roles which were defined by their religious beliefs.

If a family wants to be a self-governing family, the family must understand what self-government is. Other foundational understandings are concepts like what a family is for and what roles in a family are supposed to be like and why. Probably the most essential principle for understanding family unity is knowing what unity is based on and how it relates to family happiness. A family cannot function properly without a foundational knowledge of who they are and where they are going and why.

3. Reconfiguration of the space

When we removed the old components that needing to leave our living space, we saw that the cabinets were still good, but the order they were configured in was not really working. We took the existing cabinets, cut them up and reconfigured them as well as added a few more to make our living space more functional.

Families may also have elements that are good, like family meetings or regular family activities and routines, but they might need to be reconfigured, or adjusted, to make them more effective. Sometimes a family doesn’t need to make everything about the way they communicate new, they might just need to add a few new elements and make what they are doing more functional and pleasing for the family goals. Family meetings and activities as well as communication and problem solving structures can always be analyzed and adjusted to make family life more comfortable and purposeful.

4. Working parts need to be updated

The counters, sink, faucet, bookshelves, appliances, and other working parts of the room needed to be updated and replaced because they were not helping us accomplish what we wanted to accomplish in our home.

When a family adopts new skills for communication and problem solving, like the Four Basic Skills that are taught in Parenting A House United, the family is essentially updating the working parts of the family. The communication the family has with each other is where all the work happens. If the skills, or tools, the family has for communication are not working the family feels ineffective and stagnant. Sure, it costs a bit more time and energy to get the new skills working in the family, but like new appliances and a new kitchen sink, it is worth it!

5. The look and feel of the room

For our remodel we wanted to the room to feel like a whole new house so we chose new colors for the walls and cabinets, new lights, and fixtures. These new colors and textures set a new tone to the whole area. This new tone had a magical effect. Everyone in the family wants to protect the tone so they just naturally keep the area clean and comfortable feeling.

When a family is going to remodel their family one of the key pieces that needs adjustment for most families is the tone the family has, or how the group feels when they are together. One person can change a whole tone for a family. Consciously planning the tone and making sure the communications the family uses support the plan will create a place where family and friends will want to gather because it feels so warm and comfortable.

This New Year maybe it is time for a family remodel. Join me at the Parenting Mastery Retreat in February for your three day family make-over.