and the Intentional Family
Adapted from The Intentional Family by William J. Doherty
“An Intentional Family is one whose members create a working plan
for maintaining and building family ties, and then implement them as
best they can…. [T]he Entropic Family, through lack of conscious
attention to its inner life and community ties, gradually loses a sense
of cohesion over the years.”
a sense of order, regularity, and security
a sense of rebuilding bonds
a sense of belonging and
a sense of what we believe, honor,
and hold dear
Activities that are: Three Phases:
Intentional Transition Phase
Repeated (moving from regular
Consistent time/space to special
And have: (enjoying special
to family members Exit Phase
time/space to return to
By Function By Timing
Connection (family Event-based (baptisms)
meals; rising and
retiring, coming and Yearly (summer
going; going away) vacations)
Love (weekly dates; Monthly (deep-clean
sexual relations; Saturdays)
anniversaries) Weekly (Sunday
Celebration (birthdays, scones)
Mother’s/Father’s Day, Daily (family meals)
Creating, Changing, or Blending
1. Choose a peaceful moment for the discussion.
2. Explain that you would like to discuss a specific family ritual.
3. Express your feelings or needs related to the ritual.
4. Invite others to share their own feelings, needs, and thoughts about the ritual.
5. Offer your ideas tentatively, rather than definitively.
6. Negotiate a trial run that balances everyone’s needs.
7. Agree to follow up to determine how everyone likes the new or modified
1. Make something happen one time without major comment.
2. Ask how others liked the new or modified activity and if they would like to
make it part of the family’s ritual in the future.
3. Negotiate the specifics of the new or modified ritual.
1. Adult agreement
2. Eventual buy-in from the children
3. Maximum participation
4. Clear expectations
5. Minimal conflict
6. Protection from erosion
7. Openness to change
“Where family or national traditions or
customs conflict with the teachings of
God, set them aside. Where traditions
and customs are in harmony with His
teachings, they should be cherished
and followed to preserve your culture
Elder Richard G. Scott