POSITIVE COMMUNICATION FAMILY RULES FOR YOUR HOME
Generating loving relationships among family members requires positive communication based on rules everyone agrees on. Our words, tone, and body language have the power to build closer connection between loved ones.
Here are a few strategies to foster and cultivate healthy and effective communication in family:
1. Act, don’t react. When hearing something triggering, we may be tempted to react promptly with words or actions that we may regret later. A thoughtful response allows us to get a different perspective, manage our emotions, and consider the consequences of our response.
2. Be self-aware of how you are listening and speaking. Give full attention to the person who is speaking to you. Focus on what your family member is saying, feeling, and show some empathy toward them. When speaking, be aware of your tone, listen carefully to the words you are using. Privilege I statements such as “I feel upset when I call you several times before coming to the dinner table.” Instead of “You never come to the dinner table on time.”
3. Be open about your feelings. All family members should be able to verbalize their thoughts, feelings, wishes, and needs in a secure environment. Make sure to validate and acknowledge (which does not mean approve) what is being shared so that everyone feels safe to be vulnerable.
4. Be frank and direct in your communication with your loved ones. Ask directly for what you want, desire, or need. People are not mind readers or may have forgotten what was said previously. Avoid making assumptions about another’s thoughts, feelings, or anticipated behavior. We are all different from each other and it is always worth checking with your family member what their intentions are.
5. Let others speak. As difficult as it might be sometimes, letting others speak and finish what they are saying is an essential rule when communicating. You know how frustrating it can be to be interrupted, so respect each other’s turn to speak and wait patiently for yours.
Communicating effectively together will keep you open to share your thoughts and feelings, coax expression out of your children and foster a safe home environment in which all members of your family can feel comfortable and secure in their relationships.
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As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.