The formula for strong family ties – who wouldn't like that? In Switzerland, the "traditional family" is still the main way of life for children and adults, according to the Statistical Social Report. But there are more and more alternative ways to live together, particularly the patchwork family.
One family that has mastered the trick
Cohesion is always important, irrespective of the family form in which we live. But how can this succeed? We spoke to one family that knows how to get it right: Assunta and Romeo Tassone from the Canton of Thurgau live together with their three children, Luca (15), Luana (19), and Stefano (22). The parents have their own businesses – Assunta runs a dance school, and Romeo an interior design company. And the three children were also brought up to be independent from a young age. So successfully that 19-year-old Luana will soon be opening her own beauty salon.
But above all, the Tassone family is a strong team. Assunta and Romeo told us how they manage to hold it all together, and share their experiences:
Experience 1: Spend time together and make compromises
Even if everyone has a lot to do, it's important for the family to spend time with each other because this binds everyone together. "Having our evening meal together is a family ritual," says Romeo. "And besides that, we always discuss what we want to do. When we're planning a vacation, going on an outing or to a movie – it's never the same person who makes a suggestion." Of course, not everyone agrees all the time, but, "It can't work without compromises," Romeo insists. "If one of us decides to be difficult, it doesn't work."
Experience 2: Let the children go, but still be there for each other
The relationship changes once the children are older. "It hurts of course when children break away from their parents," says Romeo. "But you have to accept it. They get new input from their partners and friends. But this doesn't mean that they've left. The children know that they can come to us, no matter what the problem."
"The Children Need Not Be Scared to Come to Us, with Anything. There's Always a Solution."
If parents give well-intentioned advice, it's not always easy for their offspring to understand this. "Of course, they have to experience things for themselves, fall flat on their faces and learn from that." In other words, you sometimes just have to let the children go. Assunta has no doubt that this is how their understanding of their parents' views grows, as well as their trust in each other. "At the same time, it's important to value the children and their opinions. As well as admitting as an adult when you're wrong about something."
Experience 3: Mutual respect and talking to each other
"It's important to show consideration for each other," say Assunta and Romeo from personal experience. Their three children have quite different personalities, "so you have to attend to their individual needs."
The same applies when there's an argument: "When there's conflict, you have to see how it can best be resolved on an individual basis. But from our experience, it's quite normal for there to be clashes from time to time. Then you have to try and explain why you reacted in a particular way."
Luca, Luana, and Stefano are now young adults, which their parents have noticed: "Last year we felt most strongly that we as a family are a good team. The two oldest ones are through puberty, and there are fewer conflicts," says Assunta. "The children also help each other more, and give one another advice."
Respecting and talking to each other, being there for one another but giving everyone space – that's the formula for strong family ties.