One of the key factors to having a loving and happy home is communication. As a parent, sometimes it can be difficult to determine if you and your family have effectively communicated. It’s normal to question whether you’ve done the job well or not. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to tell if your family has good communication as well as ways to improve it. Here is some helpful advice for healthy family communication:

What Poor Communication Looks Like

A great way to know if you have good communication in your family is to determine if you haven’t adopted bad communication skills. Signs of poor family communication are retaliation when trying to have tough conversations, members fighting to dominate the conversation, and isolating to avoid conversation. These bad communication habits can easily lead to resentment and frustration. 

Instead of retaliating, dominating, or isolating from any conversation with your family, the best communication skill are being listening and cooperative. Cooperation in communication is a cornerstone of having healthy family relationships.  

Think About What Keeps You From Talking

Even if you have not adopted the bad communication skills listed above, there may be other obstacles between you and good family communication. For instance, anything that keeps you from talking with your family can lead to poor communication. The leading culprits are often mobile devices, computers, and television. These keep us focused on the screens in front of our faces instead of the family that is around us. 

With these constantly overpowering your day, how often are you able to have meaningful conversations? Turn off the screens and actually talk with your family.

Communication is a form of intimacy (think: “into me see”). There are other intimacy avoiders which should be considered: over-working, doing excessive extra-curricular activities (such as sports), even someone over-volunteering. All of these things could be ways that people avoid intimacy (in the broad sense of intimacy), perhaps without even being aware of it. It is worth re-evaluating how your daily and weekly time is spent, and if that impedes your family communication.

Encourage Speaking Freely

An easy way to stop a conversation before it begins is by not encouraging family members to speak freely and openly share their thoughts and feelings. It’s easy to not speak up when you know what you have to say will be met with disrespectful looks, tones or conversation and your opinions shut down before having the chance to openly talk. Even if you have differences of opinion, it’s essential for everyone in the family to feel comfortable enough to speak their mind. When it comes to differences of opinion, speak respectfully to one another. The family needs to be a safe and judgement-free space.

Create Opportunities for Conversation

To have good communication with your family, It’s imperative to always be on the lookout for new opportunities for conversation. For instance, meeting up with your spouse for lunch during the week to talk, or consider using exercise as an opportunity for conversation – go for a family walk, or cruisy bike ride with the kids or play in a playground. These spontaneous conversations are gold. The more you’re able to talk as a family, the better you will all become at communication and the stronger the family connections will grow.

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