In many families, communication is strained. Sometimes circumstances make it difficult to communicate openly. When a family is faced with dealing complex issues, tragedies or illness – it is important that they communicate.
However, sometimes events have made talking to members of your family a difficult task. Family members often move away to other areas, and divorce and remarriage can create complex blended families, or add strain to already complicated familial relationships. These circumstances can cause families to communicate in different ways, or not at all.
Perhaps, you may have had difficult relationships in the past or you may have new relationships that are fragile. This can mean that problem solving is complex and difficult during stressful times. Family members often have different views and there can be long standing differences and grudges held. This can cause conflict, and old patterns of unsuccessful communication may arise, complicating and hampering effective communication.
Communication can be difficult but not impossible. It is important to decide the best ways in which you, and your family members can talk with each other.
6 Tips for Better Communication
- Create opportunities for talking and discussing issues among family members by freeing up time where possible, or setting aside certain hours for family time.
- Insist on family meals, even if it is only a certain meal once or twice a week, if working around school, co-curricular activities, or work for yourself, or your children.
- Go on individual dates with your children so that they know they matter and aren’t lost in the mayhem of a busy work week or large family.
- Remember to listen more than you speak when having a serious discussion. It is important to hear both sides of the story, especially when having an important discussion with your children.
- Use technology to your advantage. In this modern-age, technology can be very useful when keeping track of your family. Start a group chat with your family so you can keep everyone updated or ask questions to your whole family at once. This is also useful as family members can let everyone in the family know of their location, or any updates that affect the family.
- Create family traditions. This may be something small like a Sunday night family dinner, or ice-cream with the kids on Wednesday afternoons. Family members come to expect and appreciate these traditions, seeing them as opportunities to come together as a unit.
Resolving Family Conflict using the Perspective Triangle Method
Your own perspective
The what, why, who, how, where to of self-awareness. Ask yourself what’s really bothering you about the conflict in your family and focus on the root of what the issue is in your opinion.
The Other’s Perspective
Walk a mile in the other person’s shoes and try to see how they may be confronting the issue. Ask yourself how they may be interpreting your words and actions, and what can you do differently to align more with the other person’s and your own values, and beliefs.
The third party’s perspective
Now imagine you’re watching the conflict from behind a TV screen, what would you think of your own behaviour, and the other person’s behaviour? What would the spectator see and say about the situation?