Family rituals are a cornerstone of family life across the life span. In many ways, rituals are how people enact family life. Examples include parents creating bedtime rituals with their babies, figuring out how to have family dinners with busy teens, and even regular visits to a senior care facility where an aging grandparent is recovering from surgery. Along the way, a divorce or remarriage may create challenges and opportunity to remake a family’s rituals. This entry describes what is meant by family rituals, what these rituals do for families, the types and phases of family rituals, and a bit about their interesting history.

Family rituals are repeated and coordinated activities that have significance for family members. Each element in the definition is important. To be ...

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