Discord in families can be, at best, hugely inconvenient, and at worse totally destructive. Modern life is full of distractions, and often a family will get to a point of discord without even realizing it. Communication on every level can be the medicine that these families need to get back to being a healthy, functioning family unit.
Without good communication, the very fabric of family life will unravel at the seams. Children will grow up anxious with low self esteem. Marriages can fall apart and find themselves mired in conflict. All of this can be avoided through instilling a few good communication protocols into family ife as early as possible.
Schedule in a devices-free half hour
How many families find themselves in different rooms at all times of the day and night. The proliferation of smart phones and other smart devices means that even the humble TV is abandoned by family members who would rather stream their won programs in their own rooms, or play games.
While having time to oneself is important for individual members of the family, and as children grow into teenagers, having that privacy is important. However, even more important is having some time together as a family, chatting about the day without any other distractions. It does not have to be for long, but its should be regular and consistent.
Just half an hour a day should be enough. It could be over your dinnertime. Everybody should be expected to sit down round a table, smart devices left in another room, and everyone expected to contribute in some small way.
Have a family ‘notice board’
In any busy family there are comings and goings as everyone goes about their daily business. Keeping track of every one’s movement, keeping up to date with all the various shopping requirements that are needed, posting reminders, telling funny jokes – every family needs a central noticeboard to keep them connected.
Whether it’s the installation of wipe boards made from frosted glass, or a family WhatsApp group, an active, an ever changing environment for posting silly stories about your day, reminders to pick up a pint of milk, or soliciting suggestions for supper help to foster a sense of togetherness.
Make sure all voices are heard
No matter how young your children, teaching them that their voice matters is a crucial part of building their self confidence and making them not just feel validated, but also learn to accept differing points of views and even some rejection.
As parents, it is your job to nurture your children. While discipline is an essential part of that process, is giving them the space to stretch their metaphorical wings and make mistakes.
The family unit is a place where they can do this within a safe environment. Children can learn to right from wrong, and wrong from right, and parents can supervise this knowing they can swoop in and catch them if they make too big a mistake.
It is essential that all people within the family should have a voice, and that it is allowed to be heard without any judgement. In this way, your children will develop a greater respect for the role you played in their lives, while developing that innate sense of self that will take them far in life.
Use positive, uplifting language
As part of this, the type and style of language that is used within the family environment is important to ensuring a non-confrontational atmosphere. Any combative communication, in which other family members are shamed and criticized should be completely banned. Only empowering language and a proactive listening process should be implemented.