A family is the basic unit of a society. Individuals grow and learn to be a part of a bigger system if they’re integrated well in their families. Despite the emphasis on individualism and personal freedom in the recent eras, no one can deny that family matters. It is important. According to a study, children who grew up in happy households with biological, married parents are more fulfilled and report better overall well-being. They experience less emotional instability and have more self-esteem. One thing that is essential to form and maintain an ideal family unit is Family communication. In an ideal household, family members communicate respectfully with each other that leads to a better home environment. However, that is easier said than done. That’s why, in this article, we’ll tell you how to improve Communication within your family for a healthier life.
But First, Why is Family Communication Important?
We can all agree that communication skills are a vital part of human growth. Kids who know how to convey their emotions and feelings show more self-efficacy and less violent and self-destructive behaviors. Kids learn this Communication through family. So, here are some prominent reasons to work hard on Family Communication and improve it.
You Gain Better Understanding of the People you Live with
A family consists of different individuals of different Temperaments. These differences naturally lead to friction between family members. Effective communication plays a part here. It makes us learn about others, understand them and their values Furthermore, it teaches us how to live with them despite all these differences. If you want to know how to be a good parent, that’s the trick! To understand your children, recognize their differences and still make them feel an integral part of the family.
It is Necessary for Conflict Resolution within Family
Like I said earlier, when different people live in the same household, it leads to conflicts. If you don’t learn to handle these tense situations properly, then it won’t lead to a healthy life. However, when you communicate respectfully with them, you can resolve these issues completely without any hard feelings.
To Build a Reliable Support System
Family is where people draw strength from. Unfortunately, it is not true for everyone. Children and adults who grow up in dysfunctional households don’t rely on their families for support. But if you make an effort to improve your Family Communication, you’ll always by your side through thick and thin. Moreover, major family crisis become easier to deal with when there is open communication.
Good Family Communication Strengthens your Familial Bonds
In a family where everyone is heard and respected – where their opinions are considered and seen worthwhile, familial bonds are strengthened. You feel connected and belonged.
To Reduce Family Stress
Ignoring issues and not addressing them properly breeds toxicity in the family. It leads to many misunderstandings as well. Which in turn leads to stress. And if you don’t know how to stop anxiety attacks, it can have a severe negative impact on your mental health. A stressful home environment is unhealthy to say the least. Therefore, openly conversing with your family members creates a better living environment.
4 Major Family Communication Patterns – Identity which one is Yours
You can’t work on improving communication within your family unless you identify the problems first. Communication patterns refers to interaction styles and behaviors that are repeated often. Here are four main types of Family Communication patterns. Only one of them is good and ideal. Identify which type your family falls in so that you know which area to target!
In this pattern, parents encourage their kids to speak up and express their opinions. However, ultimately they are expected to obey the parents and conform to their opinions. This leads to a stressful home environment for kids. Especially, because they are pressured to do what their parents want while their viewpoints get discarded.
This is the most toxic communication pattern, often found in traditional families with old belief system. Kids are not allowed to speak up. Their decisions are made for them without their input. And they are expected to obey them at all times. They make ‘Good Kids’ synonymous with unconditional obeying. Needless to say, it generates hostility and negativity in the family.
On the surface, this pattern looks reasonable. However, it is just another side of the extreme. Laissez-faire Families are very laid back. They don’t interfere with the lives of their kids. Children have full freedom over their own decisions and choices. But there is little communication here too. Parents’ lack of interest make children feel unwanted and not cared about. It borders on neglect.
This is the best type of Communication pattern in a Family. Pluralistic Families encourage their kids to talk openly. Their opinions are heard and considered. Conversations are plentiful. There is no pressure to obey parents unconditionally. Plus, parents make decisions in light of what their children want and what is best for them.
Top 10 Effective Ways to Improve Family Communication
Here are 10 methods you can use to upgrade the communication in your family and take a step towards a healthier living environment.
Teach Children to Communicate Nicely from an Early Age
It is important to start teaching children how to communicate from an early age. Things they learn in their childhood, whether consciously or subconsciously, stick with them for their entire lives. Teach them to speak respectfully. Be mindful of what kind of vocabulary you use in their presence. Chronic Interrupting is something common in toddlers. They also tend to raise their voice when not getting their way. These are bad communication habits and must cease. Teach your toddlers turn-taking. Likewise, tell them when it is okay to interject with their opinions. Reinforce them for controlling their volume.
Pro Tip: Never correct young kids in public. It embarrasses them, which might lead them to become reluctant to talk openly in public.
Be a Good and Patient Listener
Don’t listen half-heartedly to your family members. Be it children, grandparents or spouses. Give them your full attention. A good trick to conveying your sincerity in listening to someone’s concerns is maintaining eye contact. Non-verbal communication cues, such as eye-contact and body language go a long way towards transmitting your message.
Always be Available for your Children and Spouse Despite a Busy Lifestyle
Sometimes, during busy and hectic days, you might be unavailable for your family members. Although, we know it is too much to ask of a person to be perfect and always be there, still, you need to sort out your priorities. Your teen might catch you at a busy moment in order to talk about something. Try to be available for them.
Prioritize One-on-one Conversations
One of the best ways to advance Family Communication is to have One-on-one Conversations. This is also the trick to dealing with a disrespectful grown child. When you make time and effort to talk to someone separately, they realize their importance in your life. It conveys the message that you care about them enough to give them your complete attention. Hence, it is extremely useful in order to sort out some issue or clear a misunderstanding.
Empathy is the Key to Improving Family Communication
When toddlers or young children come to you for something, their troubles might seem trivial to you. However, to them it is a cause of great distress. Here, what you need is empathy. Show empathy to your family members. Even if you can’t relate to their problems, always approach them with understanding and care. This will make them trust you more and be more open to further conversations.
Exhibit Kindness and Appreciation to become Better Role Models
This is especially true if you’re an authority figure in your family. For example, a parent, grandparent or an older sibling. When you show kindness and compassion towards a mistake someone made and be understanding instead of reproachful, you’ll be setting a good example for others in the family as well. Furthermore, appreciate when someone opens their heart to you or talks about a sensitive topic. It must’ve taken them a lot of courage to do that.
It’s Never too Late to Build Trust with your Loved Ones
Trust is the basis of any healthy Family. If there is no trust between the family members, all your efforts to improve communication will go down the drain. So, make sure you gain trust of your loved ones first. All the things mentioned above will contribute somewhat to building trust within your family.
Make an Effort to Form a Family Routine
Having a family routine is great for bonding. It is especially helpful when family members have hectic lives due to which they might not be available to each other. A routine gives them a chance to be with each other everyday without exception. This time can be used to talk to each other, get to know life updates and address issues faced by family members.
Give Family Therapy a Try for a Better Understanding
If you think the task of improving your family communication is too enormous, you can always seek professional help. It is never the task of one person. Only when all the members of a family participate, can Communication become better. Try consulting a family psychologist. Family therapy can be a good aid to developing a healthy home environment.
Try These 10 Fun Activities to Develop a Better Family Connection!
Here some fun communication activities for kids, teens and adults to try while endeavoring to upgrade family connection.
1. Play Games Together
Be it outdoor sports or indoor card games for families, nothing brings everyone together like a good competition. Some of the interesting card games for families are listed here!
2. Insist on Having Meal Times
Pleasant meal times not only encourage healthy eating habits in kids, but also make for a great time to chat.
3. Go for Hiking or Camping
Spending time in Nature has a healing and rejuvenating effect on people. Being away from smartphones, laptops and other gadgets create opportunities for deeper, more meaningful conversations.
4. Arrange More Outings with Family
Outings work wonders for family bonding. For example, Shopping together, taking kids to their games or even just grabbing an ice cream.
5. Movie Nights are a Great Way to Enhance Family Interaction
Family Communication doesn’t always have to be brooding conversations. It can also be simply watching a movie together. You get to know what others like and dislike, etc.
6. Connect with Your Toddlers while Telling Bedtime Stories
The tradition of bedtime stories is dying out. However, it is one of the best ways to teach young kids valuable life lessons.
7. Go for Long Drives
Learning to drive is a major milestone in teenager’s life. Make the most of it. While teaching your teen how to be a safe driver, bond with them. Ask them about their life and take them on a long drive!
8. Don’t Limit Gift Giving to Christmas Only
If you want to tell someone how much you’re grateful for them, Gift giving is a good trick!
9. Bond with Your Teens over their Hobbies
Nothing says that you’re trying to improve your relationship with someone than showing interest in their Hobbies. Be it music, art, gardening, etc. Bond with your Teens by appreciating their Hobbies.
10. Drawing Together is a Simple yet Effective Family Communication Activity
It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Simply take out some paints, pencils and paper and draw to your heart’s content. Drawing is a very relaxing activity and there’s no one who doesn’t like it!
Having proper Communication within families is essential to a good life. It is important for everyone, be it children, adults or senior people. Moreover, not developing effective communication skills in kids early on has severe psychological implications. Not to mention that a family who can’t communicate, respectfully or otherwise, is a dysfunctional family. If you don’t want to live in a stressful environment, take action to improve family communication today!