Healthy Communication – Family
Families are the foundation for so much of who we are. These relationships are important because they’re an introduction to layered relationships. Your siblings are family first, and may become your friends. Parents are an authority figure in your life, but may eventually become your mentors. How you communicate with them now sets the groundwork for how your relationship changes in the future. Here are a few ways to strongly communicate with your family to help you now and in the future:
Be honest with your parents and your siblings. Any strong relationship has to have honesty. So if you’re leaving out pieces of stories or avoiding conflicts, you’re not being fully honest with your family. It’s not always easy, sometimes honesty comes with discipline or misunderstandings, but if you start a pattern of honesty now, your family will come to know you as a trustworthy person.
Respect goes a long way in communicating with anyone, especially your family. Think about your friends, youth leaders, teachers or family members who show you respect; the people who hear you out and help you fix your mistakes with compassion. Chances are, you respect those people right back. If you want respect from your family, one of the best ways to gain it is to respect them first. Listen to them, be aware of when it’s appropriate to tease, follow their rules.
Show respect by honoring your family’s decisions or life style. Your parents live the way they do for the betterment of the family unit and they deserve your respect, even when you don’t understand. You may not know the entire picture. Plus, you need to honor the decisions your siblings make, even if it’s a big mistake. Just because your sibling may not be acting maturely in a particular situation, he or she is learning to manage life. Sometimes the best ways to proceed with a difficult decision isn’t clear so your brother or sister may be approaching the situation the way that they see will work. Respecting their actions will make life easier on them, which will in turn take less pressure off of you.
Your parents and siblings may drive you crazy, but it’s important that you show your support of the family. Treating your family badly, talking about them like they’re stupid or complaining about them constantly is destructive. It’s fine to vent privately to trusted friends every once in awhile, but standing by your family establishes that you love your family no matter what.
Remember that just like you have your own individual life, so do your parents and siblings. Step into their world and invest in their life. Some practical ways to do this is to ask your parents what interesting moments or stories happened to them that day, attending your sibling’s extra curricular activities, run errands with your family or watch their favorite movies or TV show with them. Showing them that you’re interested and willing to invest will strengthen your bond and help you know their character more intimately.
Communicating with your family is a practical habit for your life. You may want to hide away in your room because your opinions and interests are starting to clash with your parents and siblings. But, investing in healthy communication habits will benefit you in the present and future.