Today’s lifestyle is a huge hindrance to better family communication as parents are more concerned with their careers than they are concerned about their families. Ambitions and pursuits of prosperity have eroded quality family time, and that explains the runaway rates of divorce cases, broken or dysfunctional homes, and delinquent youths. This does not have to be the case always even in a highly competitive world as your family life does not need to be overrun by careerism.
Schedule Family Time Together
The greatest culprit in broken homes is a lack of quality time together. Today, members of one family are strangers to each other and there is little they share, and there is even less of what they know about each other. Spouses, overcome by careerism, remain holed up in their offices while kids are embroiled with school work and under the pressure to post excellent grades.
While it is perfectly okay to take steps to advance in one’s career, it is not right to do so at the expense of your family. The family, like a nursery where seedlings are tended, needs devotion, commitment and nurturing care. Unfortunately, the edge of ambition is chipping away at the stability of the homes. It is very important to schedule family time to the extent it is regarded with the same importance people attach to attending to work or honoring a doctor’s appointment. If possible, and necessary, ignore some pre-planned activities from your schedule to make room for activities that bring together the whole family and enhance better communication. You can consult with your spouse and children so as to come to a consensus on activities that can be moved to make space for activities that improve communication and healthy interaction.
Expect resistance especially from older children who may be withdrawing into the cocoons of their lives hence having little appetite for family time. Nevertheless, be diligent and consistent in setting up time for this purpose in such a way that all members of the family will be eventually looking forward to it. One way to raise the activities’ acceptance to your children and spouse is to make them (the activities) enjoyable to everyone.
Create Family Routines or Traditions
Creating a family routine can be as simple as praying together before bed or as complex as planning a family vacation time or picnic regularly, and these practices help to create stability in the children’s lives. When kids have something to look forward to, they become more relaxed and have a fun sense of anticipation. Family members use these opportunities to interact more freely and communicate unhindered because of the relaxed environment.
Sharing meals as a family is a critically important way to better, open, free and clear communication. The ritual of eating together builds anticipation in children and helps everyone in the home to relish family time. The gathering of members of a family around a table is evocative of unity and togetherness. When this happens regularly, family bonds grow stronger, love abounds, and happiness is wrought in the family.
Be a Good Listener
Today’s world is running a deficit of good listeners and this is a major reason why there are so many strained relationships. One of the most important things you can do to your loved ones is to give them your undivided attention when they are talking. Listen intently and actively without interrupting— but if you must interrupt, do so politely, patiently and lovingly. Be ready to listen more than you are prompt to talk.
There are instances when a group setting is not the ideal opportunity to interact with a family member, so set aside some one-on-one time to interact or communicate with them. In the case of a young one, you can take him or her to a place they are most comfortable in. There, you can ask them open-ended questions that prompt them to talk and share some harbored thoughts. Just ensure you are available to talk with your kids or other family members when they need you most.
When there is a Problem, Attack the Problem and not Each Other
Oftentimes it is difficult to separate a problem from the one who commits it. In the bid to find a solution, there is a temptation not just to attack the problem, but also the person responsible for it. What this does is tragic. It makes the other party defensive and has the potential to sever communication completely. Even when there is a problem and you believe that a family member is the cause, contain your anger and approach the problem soberly. Firmly resist the often overwhelming temptation to go for each other’s neck and exercise patience, love and kindness even in such a situation.
The steps listed above are a surefire way to enhance communication in the home. Communicating well with family members will teach family members ways to communicate better even outside the home environment. Therefore, improving communication in the home is akin to killing two birds with a single stone.
Telie Woods is a publisher, author, entrepreneur and award wining sales leader who has generated millions for some of the country’s top Fortune 500 organizations. With a Masters degree in Publishing, Mr. Woods co-founded online platform Think Positive Magazine. TPM is an authority in critical thinking; designed to empower, encourage and educate through quality content.