Fostering Effective Communication Within Your Family
Good communication within the family helps to strengthen family bonds. Establishing open communication within the family is integral to creating connections, building trust, and maintaining a healthy family relationship. This is important to make sure you maintain a harmonious flow within the family and unnecessary disputes will be prevented.
What is family communication?
Family communication refers to the way verbal and non-verbal information is exchanged between members. Communication with family members involves the ability to read between their words and pay attention to what others are thinking and feeling. Suffice to say, communication is not just talking, but listening to what other members of the family have to say.
Importance of family communication
Communication within the family is particularly important because it allows each one to express his or her needs, wants, and concerns to other members. Family communications allow for an atmosphere wherein each family member can openly express their thoughts, opinions, and plans.
Open communication within the family is an avenue to resolve problems that arise within the family. Effective communication allows you to convey your emotions – your gratitude and affection for other family members.
Tips for effective communication within the family
Effective communication is a feature of strong, healthy families, and its absence may signify some level of dysfunction in the family. Marriage and family therapists have noted that poor communication is a common complaint among dysfunctional families. Poor communication within the family is associated with an increased risk for divorce, separation, and more behavioral problems in children.
To prevent this, here are some tips for effective communication within the family:
1. Establish family routines
One way to foster effective communication within the family is to create situations wherein family members can participate and look forward to. For families with younger children, this can be as simple as reading a bedtime story before sleeping. Likewise, for families with older children and adolescents, the family routine can be an activity such as weekly movie night.
Creating simple routines like this lets family members have something to look forward to and creates opportunities for them to interact with other family members. Having something to look forward to periodically helps them relax and creates a fun sense of anticipation.
2. Eat meals together
Another way to encourage open communication within the family is to ensure the family shares at least one meal per day. This is a good way to increase family time together. Family members always enjoy a lovely dish prepared at home by the family. A good thing to try would be to prepare and enjoy breakfast with everyone, or any meal that everyone can eat together.
3. Schedule family time
Even when family members are working long hours, or the children are busy with school, see to it that at the end of the day, you all spend a few minutes together for some family time. It can be as simple as updating each other on your activities, or recent developments at work or school.
Sometimes, family members may need to adjust and reschedule already planned activities to make room for family time with the whole family.
With older children and adolescents you may see some resistance at first, but be patient in doing so. In the end, all family members will start to look forward to these moments and will treasure them when looking back.
4. Listen actively
Communication is a two-way process between the speaker and the listener. For effective communication within the family, members must learn how to actively listen to what the other is saying, and to listen to emotions so that the message gets through.
If you want effective communication within the family, make sure you are 100% focused on what the family member is trying to convey to you. During family talks, turn off any gadget or electronic device that may be a distraction to communication.
Listen to what the other one has to say, until then, you will all have your chance to speak. Once one person has finished talking, you may begin sharing your thoughts.
5. Support each other
Another way to foster good communication within the family is to regularly support each other. This can be accomplished by physical or moral support. Watch your child’s school play, watch your teenager’s basketball game, or your daughter’s dance competition – these are physical ways of showing support.
Emotional support is another way to communicate within the family. Encourage your family members to hone their skills, cheer a family member when he or she is feeling down, or congratulate them for small and big victories.
6. Stay connected through technology
In our modern world, it is almost impossible to fully detach from technology. Although it is important to cut off from technology whenever possible while communicating with loved ones, you can also use technology to your advantage.
When person-to-person interaction is not feasible just like during these pandemic times, use technology to communicate and keep in touch with family members. Technology allows you to communicate within the family and keep updated in real-time with everyone’s activities and well-being.
Seeking Family Therapy
Good communication within the family ensures that everyone’s concerns, wants, and needs are met. It allows for transparency between family members leading to a better understanding of each other’s feelings.
Families can differ widely in the ways they communicate with each other. If you think your family may need a little help expressing thoughts, contact the nearest MindShift Psychological Services near me today, in California near Los Angeles, Newport Beach, and Corona. See also branches located in Southern California – Century City, Costa Mesa, and Brentwood. We offer family counseling to help your family improve communication and resolve conflicts.