Finding ways to improve family communication can help you have a more harmonious home life and improve the self-esteem of everyone in the family. In the wider world, effective communication skills can help you get ahead and have positive experiences at work, at school or in other areas of your life. Here are some thoughts to focus on:
Set family goals – Give everyone a voice in what you want your family to accomplish. Maybe it’s holding a garage sale to scale down the stuff you don’t need any more. Maybe it’s planning and saving for a special vacation. It could even be as simple as making a goal that in spite of everyone’s busy lives, you’ll make a specific plan to spend more time together. Setting goals together can offer opportunities to improve family communication on many levels.
Do something new – Finding a new activity or outing everyone can be part of can rejuvenate your family. You’ll have something new to plan together, enjoy and talk about. You can all learn to embrace different experiences and broaden your perspective about what can be fun, educational or enlightening. Both parents and kids can learn to be more flexible in adapting to new circumstances and this can help both inside and outside the home.
Balance the load - Yes, there are always boring or unpleasant tasks that need to be done around the house. Share the load and be equitable in how tasks and chores are allocated. Volunteering to help other family members can be viewed positively and increases the chance that someone will do the same for you when you need help or support.
Be respectful – Every family member should be valued as a person and for his or her contributions. If you want to share feedback on some behavior or issue, try to do that in a positive way. Being overly critical could drive the other person away.
Create a truthful environment – Hopefully the family home is a place where people can openly express feelings and attitudes. If even if don’t agree with what you’re hearing, be understanding, forgiving and accepting. Everyone doesn’t have to agree on everything; work together to create a safe environment for self-expression that keeps family members talking and makes openness the status quo in your home.
Take ownership of behavior - Nobody’s perfect and you won’t improve family communication or harmony by blaming someone else for your own mistakes, or the mistakes of another family member.
Respect privacy - If someone in the family shares something in confidence, don’t go blabbing it to others. You’ll break trust and impact that person’s ability to rely on you. And respect that there will be times when a family member needs privacy–perhaps on the phone or by keeping a diary. Don’t snoop.
Offer positive feedback - When someone in the family has a good idea or makes a positive contribution, let them know. Offer specific compliments and let that person see that you value their ideas. Don’t take credit for a contribution or idea that initiated with someone else.
Accept what others can teach you - Recognize that everyone brings skills and talents to the table and learn from each other. The more talents, knowledge and abilities in your family, the more successful and productive you can be as a group and as individuals.
By focusing on these elements of teamwork, attitude and gratitude, you can help improve family communication in your home.
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