Funny, isn’t it, how just a few choice words can entirely change a family dynamic…either for good or for ill? Whether you’re trying to enjoy a meal together at the dinner table, on an outing, dealing with a split family situation, or otherwise, both what you say and how you say it can have an enormous impact on the results.
And the entire time you’re talking?
Your kids are listening. They’re learning the same communication patterns and habits you’re expressing, internalizing them, and will start responding in kind.
When you keep that fact in mind, the importance of establishing positive communication within your family becomes critical—and you recognize that, as a parent, you hold a primary responsibility in achieving this.
So, how do you lay the foundation for a future of strong and nurturing communication?
Here are Some Steps you can Start Implementing Today:
- Be direct – Let your family know that you’re trying to work on building positive communication. Be open in asking for others’ opinions. Encourage your kids to be clear in what they want or need, rather than assuming you already know. Assumptions can cause critical breakdowns in communication, even if you think you’re coming from similar perspectives.
- Communication involves listening – So often we forget to give others the chance to respond to what we’re saying, or consider that they may have different thoughts or ideas they want to express as well. If we don’t take the time to listen, then we’re just monologuing, and we might as well be chatting to a mirror for all the good it does.
- Admit when poor communication happens – We all screw up, sooner or later. Your kids—being more perceptive than we care to admit—will pick up on our mistakes, whether we like it or not. If you’re upfront about these faults, then it encourages your kids to be honest as well! If you just try to hide and pretend nothing’s wrong, then guess what? Your kids will be more apt to try and keep important issues hidden from you.
Establishing positive communication within a family is a lifelong process, one that no one ever truly masters. However, by at least making a constant effort, you have a higher chance of enjoying more open relationships and giving your kids a healthier approach to how they communicate!