Family Relationships: How to Improve Communication

communication

Communication has changed drastically over time. From cave drawings to books to blogs, communication is forever morphing as technology changes, but a constant is the human need to communicate. From families of two to families of 20, communication is what maintains harmony and unity.

In the early stages of marriage, communication is essential as the couple learns how to live with one another and fill their new roles as spouses. Theravive®, a website dedicated to matching people everywhere with great counselors and psychologists, compares communication in marriage to a life giving river. A barrier in communication between spouses creates a dam in the flow of the river, which causes everything around the couple to slowly die. The spouses feel a thirst for unmet needs, and these feelings have a negative impact on the relationship.

It is important to overall relationship health and happiness to keep the river flowing, so to speak, by communicating with one another about feelings – whether good or bad. A tip given by Theravive® on avoiding communication failure is to work hard at understanding the feelings of a loved one. A failure in communication occurs when one person feels misunderstood, and feeling this way causes a reaction. Some react by withdrawing from their partner, some with words, and some with actions, but there are ways to avoid any kind of reaction and draw closer to the loved one. Take time to listen and understand their point of view before defending your own. Your partner will feel loved and justified and be more open to hearing your side of the story as well.

If your family has grown from two to more, there is information at healthychildren.org that can aid in increased communication within your home. The first tip is to be available to children. Even if only for ten minutes, it is important to unplug and focus on the child and only the child. Give them undivided attention and look them in the eye as they talk; this shows them that they are important and their feelings matter.

Another tip is to not laugh at or downplay the child’s feelings. If the kindergartener is angry because his toy truck is broken or the preteen is devastated because her boyfriend of two weeks broke up with her, those feelings are real to them. It would be better to ask him or her why they feel the way they do and show empathy than to discount their feelings.

Whether communicating with a spouse, a child, a friend, or another relative, it is important to be available to your loved one, to hear what they have to say, to understand their feelings, and to grow from the communication with one another. Communication is meant to bring people closer together but also has the ability to tear people apart if not done in a healthy way.

More information about communication in marriage can be found through this link: http://www.theravive.com/services/communication-marriage.htm, and more information on communication with children can be found here: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/Pages/Improving-Family-Communications.aspx. ​