What are you telling your family? Tips for better communication

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What are you telling your family? Tips for better communication“You are so lucky to have such a great family. You seem to really enjoy each other. I would love to have your family.” Those are compliments that most people enjoy hearing about their family, but not everyone does.

Strong families don’t just happen. They happen because individuals choose to nurture their relationships. The modern world is fast paced and stressful. Everyone is so busy! How can you create a space for clear, open communications with the people they care the most about?

Functional families balance the needs of individuals with the needs of the family. The message that should be communicated is a balance of “you matter” and “I also matter.”  Take a moment to think about what your actions and your tone are saying to your family. What is attending your child’s baseball game communicating? What is your raised voice communicating? What is a date night with your partner communicating? What are those late nights alone in front of the computer communicating?

If you want to improve family communication, start by thinking about the nature of the messages you are sending by your actions. Once I asked my 4 1/2 year old son if he felt that I loved him. Without hesitation, he said “yes.” When I asked him how he knew it, he simply said, “Because you hug me.” Sometimes, words aren’t required to communicate. Remember that supportive gestures can be powerful.

Some simple first steps to encourage positive family dynamics:

  1. Recognize what works best for you and your family. Be willing to try new things to find solutions.
  2. Find the best times for your family to connect. This may be over breakfast, or before bed time, or on the weekend.
  3. Create a healthy balance of fun activities and problem solving sessions
  4. Try to understand what other family members are “hearing” from your actions and words. The best way to do this is to  ask them, and practice active listening
  5. Schedule enough time spent together and enough time apart to express individuality

Our counsellors are available to assist you and your family with this process. Together we can develop a plan to get your family on the road to forming strong relationships that will stand the test of time!

Connect with a counselor, or explore communications resources at www.workhealthlife.com

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