Family is important because it has helped you become who you are today. However, while having a family sounds like a great thing to have as you’ll continuously have something to run back to during difficult times, it takes effort to make a family work and be a harmonious unit.
While these are relationships you are born into, that doesn’t mean these relationships don’t still require work and upkeep.
As unfortunate as it sounds, many families don’t get along, and being with each other inspires dread. Luckily, you can prevent that from happening to your family by improving your communication with your family members.
Most families fail to have a proper communication system, resulting in poor relationships and frequent misunderstandings that can cause arguments and disagreements. If your family suffers from these problems, you can try family counseling at facilities like High Country Behavioral Health, or you can choose to do the following home tips below:
1. Start Family Dates
You should try to regularly set dates to spend with the whole family where you’ll bond altogether and enjoy each other’s company.
Most families fall apart because they don’t have much time to spend with each other to catch up or simply hang out with everyone. When you usually come home late from work and can’t bond with your children as it’s past their bedtime, you should try to set a day during the weekends to spend the whole day with them, free from work.
In this way, they know that they’re still an essential part of your life, and you’re trying hard to make things work for everyone.
You can host your family dates every Sunday and plan different adventures every time. You can choose to have a picnic at the park, go out of town, dine at a dog café, watch a movie, or go for a swim at the beach. Just ensure that you plan activities that are age-appropriate for everyone so each family member can enjoy them.
2. Eat Together
One of the best and simplest ways to communicate effectively with everyone with your family is by eating together at the same table every night for dinner. Eating breakfast together may not be ideal for everyone, given that there are different schedules with going to school and work and being in a hurry, so there’s not much time to catch up in the mornings.
However, with family dinner, you have much fewer time constraints and can dedicate time to just being together.
Ideally, everyone should be seated around the dining table to promote face-to-face interaction. You should avoid sitting in a single row as it doesn’t encourage intimacy. If you’re looking for a new dining table for your home, you might want to consider having a rounded table for better conversation flow.
3. Listen Properly
Communicating with your family doesn’t only require you to speak but also to listen to what they want to say. Allow them to be open with their feelings and thoughts and avoid interrupting.
One piece of advice that has helped plenty of people is to ask the person whose speaking if they want you to help resolve their problems if they just need an ear to vent to. This way, you can avoid any potential issues that would come from not providing the other person the support they’re looking for.
When listening to a family member, give out your full attention and keep distractions away from the area. You can turn off the TVs, phones, music, and avoid talking to other people simultaneously. Your entire focus should be on the speaker and listen thoroughly to what they’re saying and understand their opinions and feelings about the situation without judgment.
4. Regularly Communicate
In the case that you’re no longer with your families physically because everyone lives in different places, you might find keeping in touch difficult, especially once people start having their own families. While it can be saddening not to regularly see each other, you should make it a habit to continue communicating with your family online.
Luckily, technology today continues to evolve, making communication more comfortable and faster. You can easily connect with your family with just a press of a button, and you can see them through a video call, allowing you to see what’s currently happening as if you were there. With the ease of communication, you should always look for ways to keep in touch.
You can set aside your day where you just catch up with everyone, and it wouldn’t take too much of your time as you don’t have to leave home—all you need to do is turn on your mobile phones or your computers.
5. Use Kind Words
No matter how stressed and worried you are, always try to use kind words whenever speaking with a family member. If you find the situation stressful, imagine what they feel in their position. When communicating with a family member, try to avoid raising your voices and talk in a calm tone that won’t trigger any disagreements and conflicts.
Your family should be the safest place where you’ll ever be, and you should allow everyone to feel comfortable and safe to open up their thoughts without feeling judged or looked down on. When a family member speaks about their beliefs, respect them, and use kind words in hopes of lifting them from the situation.
Moreover, one shouldn’t forget to say thank you, please, you’re welcome, sorry, good luck, and take care when needed. Those few words are free to use, and nothing’s going away with you if you tell them to your family.
6. Resolve Issues
Some people find confrontation uncomfortable. However, keeping your emotions inside won’t benefit your mental health, and it could provide room for improvement to the other member.
If your family is currently going through issues, everyone should set aside their time to talk as a family and try to resolve the problems, allowing for a harmonious living once again.
With confrontation, expect that there’ll be miscommunication and misunderstanding that’ll occur, which could lead to disputes. You can avoid this by displaying patience and avoiding contradicting what someone says.
Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand the situation that they’re going through. Be open to opinions and suggestions. And if it’s challenging to resolve the issue, you can all agree to disagree, and hopefully it’ll work out for your family.
7. Unplug and Bond
With the world today, most people are dependent on their devices. When you go outside, you can probably see everyone on their mobile phones, texting their friends, responding to emails, playing games, watching movies or TV series, and catching up with social media.
While it can be addicting to catch up with everyone else who is far away from you, you might be disconnecting with people who are a foot away from you.
To promote better communication in your family, you should pick a day in a month where you unplug all technology in your household and bond as a family, technology-free. This means you shouldn’t use your TVs, computers, laptops, gaming console, internet, or even your phones!
You can try to play board games, play running games, have a bake-off, or simply just have a barbeque party at the yard where you can purely enjoy each other’s company without the interference of technology. When you have your phones with you, you’re more likely to check on them to see any notifications.
To prevent that from happening, gather everyone’s phone, put them in a box, and keep them away from everyone else until the end of the day.
8. Be Available
One of the best ways to improve your communication with your family is to always be present, especially when they needed you the most. You should be the person they can run through when their friends are busy with their lives and cannot attend to their needs.
When a family member asks if they can talk to you to talk about something important, always set a time for them no matter how busy you are. If you can’t attend to their needs, how do you expect them to run to you when they feel sad and lonely?
Apart from being available when they need to talk to you, you should also attend every event in their lives, such as soccer practice, ballet recital, birthday parties, graduation, the first day of school, and more. You should try to always be present in your children’s important events as they remember your absence more than your presence.
As much as possible, you should try to strengthen your relationship with your families as they’re the ones you can run into when you feel down and sad. To build up the connection in your home, you should practice healthy communication by always being available and spend as much time with everyone to be updated and know the struggle one is going through.
This will help you have a healthy family that everyone will enjoy coming home to every single day.