Happy Holidays! This week’s post is about family communication, which tends to be more prevalent during the holidays. Building healthy families is about learning to communicate openly, honestly, and sensitively to maintain relationships that can withstand the challenges that families often face.
All families experience problems at one time or another, especially during the holidays when people tend to be under more stress due to extra events and added expectations (click here for how to manage stress during the holidays). Differences of opinion and disagreements are a normal part of having relationships with people, especially with the ones you live with and call family. It is likely that you are not exactly the same – you probably come from different backgrounds and have had different experiences. Keeping that in mind will help to keep the situation calm when differences arise.
Setting The Stage For Great Family Communication
Share Your Feelings
When you communicate how you feel, you create an atmosphere that encourages and allows others to respond in a kind way. Often times, if you do not speak up about whatever it is that you feel, it will not get addressed and could possibly build up into something more stressful down the line.
Listening and Understanding
Paying attention to one another is of essence to understanding one another. Having non-verbal cues in communication is important; how what you do not say with words can be more vital than the words you do say. Take notice to what your partner or child (or other family member or friend) is communicating through their facial cues and posture. Also ask questions to receive the best clarity.
As with any changing and or forming relationship, flexibility is important to keeping the relationship on track and satisfactory to all parties. Once you have said what you needed to say and have heard what your partner needed to say, begin to practice changing for the situation to get better.
Show Your Appreciation
Tell the other person how grateful you are for them and all the wonderful things and feelings that you get to experience because of them. Having gratitude is often the key to a more successful relationship, especially when it is acknowledged by both parties.
Above all, the holidays are meant to be a special time with friends and family. May your holidays be blessed with joy, laughter, love and successful communications!