The professionals at TeamBuilders Counseling Services understand that families are a blending of diverse personalities. Each person is unique and brings their own strengths and differences to the group. Building strong family bonds is important, and effective communication is a key part of this process. With busy schedules and life’s ups and downs, it becomes even more important to focus on communication.
TeamBuilders Counseling Services shares some helpful tips for improving family communication and building stronger connections.
1. Make time to talk
Between work, school, sports, and extracurriculars, many families maintain a busy schedule. Make a conscious effort to spend time every day catching up. Put down the electronics, turn off the television, and focus on connecting. Talk about what happened that day, exciting things coming up, personal concerns, or anything else that is on the person’s mind. It is important for parents to show children that they matter and are a priority.
2. Spend time together
TeamBuilders Counseling Services suggests making it a point to sit down and eat dinner as a family as often as possible. Encourage everyone to speak up and become engaged in the conversation. Plan family outings doing activities that everyone enjoys. Let the children share their ideas for what they would like to do and write plans down on the calendar so that no one forgets. These simple times can create lasting memories and family traditions.
3. Actively listen
When a child or loved one is sharing their feelings, give them undivided attention. Focus on truly listening to and understanding what they have to stay. Ask questions for clarification rather than making assumptions. The mere act of listening can help the other person to calm down and help them work through their thoughts.
Take an interest in what they have to say. Clearly it is important to them. Ask for their opinion. Appreciating others’ interests and perspectives can create stronger bonds and lead into other discussions, explains TeamBuilders Counseling Services. Validate that their thoughts and feelings are important. Respond thoughtfully and genuinely. Pay attention to tone and body language as they can convey conflicting messages.
4. Become a positive role model
Children are constantly absorbing the world around them, trying to make sense of what they see and hear. Parents should make an effort to set a good example. Treat others with the same type of compassion and respect that is expected of children. Give clear directions that are easily understood. Teach children how to use their words to express themselves rather than resorting to yelling or name calling. Parents should do the same. Children learn by example so pay attention to actions and words.
TeamBuilders Counseling Services Strategizes on Conflict Resolution
Conflict is a natural part of life, notes TeamBuilders Counseling Services. Disagreements arise when people have differing views or opinions. That does not mean that they have to become detrimental to relationships, however. Conflict can actually lead to healthier bonds because it raises awareness of problems, helps people to recognize other viewpoints, and can bring about positive changes. Learning how to effectively resolve conflict is a valuable skill.
- Identify the problem. When emotions run high, people can lose sight of the issue at hand. Identify what the core issue is and why it is causing conflict. Focus on the actual problem rather than the emotions that it elicits. Stick to the present issue and avoid bringing up problems from the past.
- Attempt to understand the other person’s perspective. TeamBuilders Counseling Services advises to give each other an opportunity to explain their side of the situation. Listen to what the other person is saying and ask questions for clarification or more information. When talking to children, do not try to express their feelings for them. Help them to find the words and means to do this themselves. Ask open-ended questions.
- Use “I” statements. This helps people to stake claim to their own feelings and avoids placing blame on others. They are able to explain how the situation makes them feel and it forces them to reflect on their own thoughts before they speak. The other person should use “I” statements as well. This strategy helps to deflect making people feel threatened or attacked.
- Try to come to a mutual agreement. Offer suggestions that might satisfy both people’s needs. Flexibility and compromise can go a long way, state the professionals at TeamBuilders Counseling Services. Parents can give younger children a few options from which to choose. With older children, let them suggest choices as well. In the end the parents have the final say, but by letting children express their ideas and solutions it makes them feel more valued and heard. They may come up with viable solutions that satisfy their needs and are agreeable to parents.
- Offer explanation. If the answer is a firm no, explain why. “Because I said so” is generally not enough to appease a situation, nor does it promote effective communication. Explain the reason behind the decision so that the child has a better understanding. Stay positive and respectful. If they are disappointed, acknowledge their feelings and give them time to process and calm down.
Practicing effective conflict resolution strategies can help to bring about positive changes. It can improve communication skills that are applicable in many areas of life. The professionals at TeamBuilders Counseling Services support strong communication and building lasting family bonds.