Family Communication

QUESTION: What are some tips for good family communication?

ANSWER:

Good communication starts with time spent together.
  • Perhaps one of the best daily times for conversation is mealtime. Guidelines need to be set that open the way for conversation to take place -- such as no TV, radio, reading material, or toys at the table. Another gambit for conversation is open-ended questions such as: What was the best part of your day? Or what was your least favorite part of your day? Even young children can participate in such discussions.

    With busyness of life, many families don’t eat any meals together. Parenting includes making this a priority as often as possible. If daily family dinner doesn’t work on a regular basis, maybe Saturday or Sunday breakfasts can be together times. Parents may want to make individual “dates” with teenagers just to get that time to converse with them.

  • Plan family activities where all members are present. Go for walks or bike rides, play games, and even be spectators at the children’s activities. These can be family events, where all can participate and communicate together. Taking excursions, like a picnic or a family vacation can be great events for conversation. Include all family members in the planning stage to heighten the opportunities for communication and lessens misunderstanding. Learn about the likes, dislikes, fears, and expectations of family members. The discussion can center on what activities are available in the area you are traveling to that might appeal to various members of the family.

  • When communicating with children, learn how to communicate on the child’s level. Even the youngest children want to be heard and often have a lot to say. When possible, get down to their level or move them up to your level so that you can look them in the eye while talking to them. The child wants to see that you are indeed listening to them, as any adult wants to know. Teenagers respond to people who will communicate about issues that are important to them. All individuals appreciate being listened to without interruption, judgment, correction, and condescension. How awful it would be to have stopped the flow of wonderful sharing conversation just by criticizing the manner in which it was presented!
Parents can teach children from a young age that it is acceptable and helpful to share emotions in their conversation. If they are taught to express that the monster in the closet is fearful to them, without feeling silly or overly childish, they will be more likely to share what is fearful to them as they grow older. If they are taught to put their feeling into words early in life, they will be more apt to share those emotions as they grow older. When parents react in anger, disgust, or shock as their teenager confides in them, the teenager is much less likely to confide in them the next time.

Respectful conversation can and should be practiced within the family unit in order for it to exist outside of the household. Listening to each family member speak without interruptions, encourages, more than one viewpoint and these are skills that can be learned in the course of good family communication.

Family Conflicts - Learn More!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? - We have all sinned and deserve God's judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

What is your response?

Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus

Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus

I still have questions