Family Vacation: Strengthen Your Family’s Relationship Away From Home

If you’re in a military family, and you want to foster growth during a family vacation, it makes sense to go somewhere that has a little something for everyone. How big is your family? How much time do you have off? These questions will be important to answer as you consider a family vacation that strengthens you as a group. The beach offers many things that can make it so everybody has a good time!

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Understanding The Child’s Perspective

When you’re planning vacations, remember that the little ones understand time and events differently. Where for you, a day at the ocean maybe three or four hours between late morning and early afternoon, for your young ones that time will pass in an entirely different way that is both swifter and slower than your perception.

The whole vacation will be like that for them. As adults, they will remember things from when they went with you and Dad to the beach. Tiny things will stand out, big things will be forgotten, and vice versa. Part of having the strongest relationship between members of your family will involve understanding this reality, and planning accordingly.

First things first: everybody needs to have a good time. You’ve got the advantage of a military man in your life if you’re in a military family, which means there will likely be an itinerary ironed out beforehand—which is good! That said, you’re going to have to be careful in terms of exercising matriarchal influence. There’s a time and place for everything!

Some vacations will appropriately be about strengthening bonds and expanding your family’s closeness. Some will just be about a change of scenery and having some fun away from home for a while. That said, if the last ten vacations have just been sleeping in and contemplating your collective navels, it may be time to do something special!

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Strategic Planning

Look into the itinerary, and make the family bonding event a mission with your husband. Include him! Don’t assume he’ll just go along with you because you had an idea. He might, but then he might be subconsciously resentful as a result, and that can work against family cohesion. So what you might do is deign toward his military experience.

Perhaps indicate a time when he received a challenge coin for service or as an award, and get a few for your family. Anyone who has been given a challenge coin understands what it represents.

So perhaps acquire a few challenge coins and have a ceremony about how important each member of the family is, and how together, you form your own “platoon”, if you will, against the world. Don’t go overboard—part of family cohesion involves letting people think, speak, and act.

You can’t hijack the family bonding event, or it just becomes another instance where mom tried to force-feed familial ties down everybody’s throats. If you want cohesion, if you want to strengthen family bonds, then the heads of the household must be in agreement.

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