I got a lot of feedback on one phrase in my post on throwing away junk food: “we have a culture of healthy food in our house.”
It has been interesting talking to people about the culture at home.
First: yes, your home has its own culture. This is why there are so many adults who say, “I never thought xyz was weird until I went to college” or “I had no idea everyone’s family didn’t do that.”
Home is the place where we have the most control. These are things we do and don’t do here. These are things we eat/drink and don’t eat/drink here. This is how we talk to people and expect to be spoken to. These are activities we do and don’t do. This is how we spend our time. This is how we spend our money. This is how we organize our stuff. This is how we take care of each other. And on and on.
These are all things that we have a large degree of control over. The more adults there are in the house, the more difficult it might be to set this if not all adults agree, or if adults have different default settings.
To mesh these things:
Sometimes it works to talk about ideals: “How would we do this if we had no obstacles?” and work from there to set standards and figure out ways around or over obstacles.
Sometimes it works to talk about goals: “This isn’t how I/we want it, but it’s something I/we want to get better at, so let’s create a culture in the home to help us get better.” (This is HUGE with eating, with screen time, with texting while conversing, etc.)
Sometimes it works to talk about kids: “This isn’t how we are but it’s how we want our kid(s) to be, so we need to change how we do it so that it’s just normal for the kid(s) (and, as a result, becomes part of us as well).”
The bigger the kids are, the more they’re going to need to be part of the conversation.
In the case of us having a culture of healthy food in our home, there was no conversation to set it up—it existed before The Kid did. We’ve had conversations about it explaining the why many times, but he’s never known anything different—it’s just how we do it—and there has never been resistance to it.
If it was something we wanted to create now, there would need to be conversations and a plan mapping out how that would go, what would change, what wouldn’t, etc.
But it applies to all aspects of living. With the three of us living together for only a year at this point—and with the adults being in independent states of flux besides—there are still aspects of family/household culture that we’re working out.
If you live alone, you can still address many aspects of all of this for daily living and interactive aspects for when you have people into your home.
Create your culture.