Have you identified the core values and beliefs you want your family to focus on as your children grow? A family manifesto is a great way to establish and be reminded of those values, but what exactly is it and how do you create one?
Kris Hughes is a podcaster, parenting coach, mom of four, and stepmom to three. She has more than two decade’s worth of experience as a parenting coach, and she often encourages her clients to create their own family manifestos.
So in today’s blog post, we’re sharing Kris’ take on the importance of a family manifesto and how to create one.
Keep reading to learn more!
What is a Family Manifesto?
“A manifesto, what I like to refer to with my own clients as The Family Culture, is putting into written-word the values, needs, and desires of the family,” Kris said. “In doing so, you make conscious for all the family members what each can expect and how they can make their contribution to the manifesto purposeful day-in and day-out.”
She said a family manifesto is beneficial because it sets clear expectations.
“When the expectations are clear, it can build confidence and security, which encourages an environment of inspiration, creativity, and ease allowing your child to embrace change and growth organically,” she said.
Since children thrive on predictability, a manifesto can help cultivate the aforementioned qualities within daily home life.
“When the children are little, the parents work in tandem to create the values and expectations,” Kris said. “As the children develop and grow, they become more involved with it by following their parents' living example.”
When Should Families Write Their Manifesto
“I tell parents it’s never too early, or too late, to create a manifesto for their families,” Kris said. “It can begin as early as when the family is born, whether through pregnancy or adoption. One of the most valuable lessons for a child is to see that their parents are able and willing to grow and develop at every age and stage of life.”
How to Write a Family Manifesto
Kris said parents should know what their values are before writing their manifesto.
She also suggested parents follow these steps.
- Have each parent share how they grew up.
- Consider what aspects of those upbringings you want to keep and what you want to let go.
Kris said the first step can be particularly challenging. “This can be a vulnerable exercise and requires deep listening,” she said.
The results of this exercise become the foundation of the manifesto.
Once you have the foundation, you’re ready to write!
Getting started is the hardest part, so here are a few prompts to help kick things off.
- “We believe …”
- “In our family we ….”
- “Our family mission statement: …”
- “The [Last Name Here] Family’s Core Values:”
Once you’ve written your manifesto, you can simply print it out and post in on the fridge, or take it a step farther and use a platform such as Canva to create something you can frame and hang in your home.
Introducing the Manifesto
It sounds simple, but leading by example is the best way to introduce your family’s manifesto to your kids.
“Young children learn through imitation, so it will be their natural inclination to learn about the family culture through the parents,” Kris said.
Can Family Manifestos Change?
Kris said yes.
“As children develop and grow, and as the parents grow, their values and needs shift,” she said. “These changes will need to be reflected in the manifesto and communicated to the entire family.”
Kris suggested reevaluating the manifesto annually.
“See what aspects are still working and which ones need tweaking,” she said.
To Sum it Up
- A family manifesto is putting into written-word the values, needs, and desires of your family.
- It’s never too early, or too late, to write a family manifesto.
- Understanding how each parent was raised, as well as what they’d like to keep from their childhood and what they’d like to let go, sets the foundation for a family manifesto.
- Consider starting your manifesto with phrases such as “We believe...,” “In our family, we …” etc.
- Leading by example is the best way to introduce the family manifesto to your children.
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