Regular family chats
can be a fun and productive way to ensure you have a strong, healthy and tight-knit family.
It’s a time for everyone to sit around the dining table or the lounge room (or up in the kids’ tree-house, if you really want!) and just talk about everything that is going on; a time to share and a time to listen.
Research shows that effective communication is essential to build strong marital,parent-child,and sibling relationships, so who are we to argue against those brainy scholars!?
Communication within the family is important because it gives family members a chance to express their needs, wants, and concerns to each other.
Family chats create an opportunity for family members to express their differences as well as love and admiration for one another in an atmosphere of safety and acceptance.
Through talking with one another, your family will be more able to resolve the unavoidable problems that arise in all families,our
included! So we can safely say that “effective communication equals a strong and healthy family”.
Remember when dealing with your family members that everyone has their own feelings, ideals, fears, passions, and agendas.
General communication and holding family meetings will help keep communication open and more productive.
In a world of fast cars, fast living
Oh! Sorry to spoil the party! And fast food, we can sometimes forget to stop to talk to our family.
In most families each member has their own individual, hectic schedule, and everyone find it hard to find time for any family chats or basicly just talk with one another.
I know in our family that work, ballet lessons, soccer practice, homework, hobbies and housework can become the centre of our attention while our time for a family chat is ignored.
Maybe your family has a hectic schedule, too? It may seem like there are not’t enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done, but we need to make sure that we make time to spend with our loved ones, for our friendly family chats.
~ Schedule a time weekly for informal or formal family chats
~ Talk in the car
~ Turn off the TV at dinner and just TALK!
~ Talk to your kids at bedtime
~ Make communicating with your family a top priority over other commitments – your relationship with family is forever, material things are momentary.
Be creative in the ways you communicate with family – maybe in summer you could plan a family picnic with the simple intent of talking and enjoying nature together as a family.
Communicate Clearly & Direct.
A sign of a healthy family is the clear and direct manner in which they communicate their thoughts and feelings to each other. This clear and direct communication is especially important when you attempt to resolve problems that come up between family members.
In situations like this – be it a problem concerning a spouse, parent-child or sibling relationship – if you are vague or indirect in the way you communicate you will fail to resolve the problems.
Not only this, but the bad communication will also create a further lack of intimacy and weaken emotional bonding between family members.
Be A Good Listener.
Listening is the most important aspect of communication.
Ever felt like you’re not being heard; felt like you were talking to a brick wall?
We all have!
But have you considered that if you listened to what others say to you, then maybe they will listen to you in turn? Suddenly the “Brick Wall of Bad Communication” will disappear! Hooray!
(At this point you can do a crazy dance of triumph – you know you want to…we’ll turn around for a moment to give you a bit of privacy…OK, now you have danced, let’s move on!)
Use your family chats as a time to teach your children how to be better listeners. This is an important life-lesson.
To be a good listener:
~ Give the person talking your full attention. Maybe you could turn the TV off or stop what your doing while you listen.
~ Acknowledge and respect the other person’s perspective. Everyone is different – don’t forget that!
~ Show them that you care about their point of view and what they are feeling (e.g. nod your head, or tell them you understand).
~ Pay close attention to their verbal and non-verbal messages.
~ Seek clarification if you do not understand something the other family member says. (e.g. Simply ask them: ‘What did you mean when you said…?’ or ‘Did I understand you correctly?’)
Be Open & Honest.
If you want effective communication to take place within your family, individual family must first be open and honest with one another.
It might be hard at first, but once your family, as a team, create an atmosphere of openness and honesty during your family chats, you will find that you have set the stage for trusting relationships all round.
Without trust, your family cannot build strong relationships. Parents are especially responsible for creating and providing a safe environment that allows family members to openly and securely express their personal thoughts and feelings.
Think About The person You're Talking with.
Acknowledge that not all family members communicate in the same way and not everyone in your family is at the same intellectual or emotional level. This is especially true for young children.
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When talking with young children it is important for adults to listen carefully to what the children say without making unwarranted assumptions.
Parents cannot communicate in the same way that they communicate with their spouse because children might not be old enough to understand. Consider the ages and maturity level of each of your children; toddlers and teenagers are worlds apart when it comes to their maturity level.
Don’t baby a 17-year-old
teen about "chat room dangers",
and do not treat a 5-year-old like a mini-adult!
Pay Attention To Non-verbal Messages.
In addition to carefully listening to what is being said during your family chats, you must also pay close attention to the non-verbal messages other family members are sending out.
As a spouse or child says something verbally, keep an eye out for body language or facial expressions that might tell you something completely different.
If a child says they are enjoying school, but their smile is fake then something is wrong! In a case like this, it is important that you find out how the person is really feeling.
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