Communication is key.
We’ve all heard this phrase more than a few times regarding relationships with our significant others, but it’s important to remember that communication can help strengthen our families as well.
We don’t always give communication the credit it deserves, but it only makes sense that communicating the right way can lessen conflict and strengthen bonds in any relationship, including your relationship with your spouse, your parents, and even your kids.
If you’re still wondering why healthy communication is so crucial for a strong, stable family, here are three powerful reasons.
1. Promotes Calm Conversations
If someone in your family has difficulty expressing themselves, it can lead to a lot of turmoil. Emotions run high quickly, and when not properly expressed, can cause a lot of frustration, arguments, and tension within your family. This is especially problematic when it comes to kids because it can cause them to act out in several negative ways.
Healthy communication involves listening – really listening.
When someone (especially a child) knows you’re actively listening to them, they’re more likely to calm down. That makes it easier for them to express themselves in a relaxed and more detailed manner.
If something is bothering them, it will be much easier for you to get to the root of the issue when they feel calm and comfortable with your keen listening habits.
Starting this practice when your kids are very young can help them develop healthy communication habits of their own as they grow. Not only does that allow you to get to the source of stressful issues faster, but it promotes calm communication in the future. If someone in your family knows you’ve taken the time to listen to them and appreciate what they have to say, they’ll likely do the same for you when you have something important to share.
2. Builds Trust
When you communicate effectively with your family, you’re actively working on building trust.
It’s so easy for trust to be broken, especially when it comes to children. Making an effort to practice healthy communication habits will encourage your kids to trust you. As a result, they’ll be more likely to come to you when something is on their mind.
As your children age, the practices you taught them when they were young can make a huge difference in how they handle things and the choices they make in their lives going forward.
Don’t just save your strong communication skills for your kids though, because communicating also builds trust in your relationship with your partner!
You and your partner should be on the same page when it comes to each other’s communication styles. You should also agree on how you communicate with your kids to appear as cohesive parenting team.When you both understand how important healthy communication really is, you can put more effort into strengthening your family unit.
3. You Become a Role Model
When you do encourage healthy communication within your family, you’re setting an example for everyone else. Of course this includes your kids, but it also encourages your partner and even members of your extended family to do the same.
Talking to your family about how to practice healthier communication habits is a great place to start, but you’ll get more out of it by also practicing these habits yourself.
In fact, you might be surprised at just how quickly your actions and the way you interact with your family start to rub off on others.
It’s not always easy to effectively communicate. It takes effort and practice to make it a habit. But, if you’re willing to put in the work and encourage your family to do the same, you’ll find that your family will stay stronger than ever.
That can make a huge difference in times of chaos and stress.
Alexandra Waugh, MA, is a licensed professional counselor intern at the Relationship Counseling Center of Austin. Alexandra’s certification as a Positive Discipline Parent Educator, paired with her training in Internal Family Systems, allows her to help forge bonds between family members through effective communication techniques. To schedule your appointment with Alexandra, you can reach her at (512) 270-4883, ext. 113, or request an appointment with her on the RCC Austin Scheduling page.