Raising healthy, happy, positive families is the most important job we are given in life and it requires three basic components, love, understanding and communication. Research identifies communication as an essential building block of strong marital, parent-child, and sibling relationships. Family communication is a powerful component in family functioning. Parents who encourage their children to express their thoughts and feelings openly and honestly are more likely to have children who are able to come to them if they have a problem and know that they will be supported and loved.
Family communication is the way verbal and non-verbal information is exchanged between family members and encouraging and nurturing a child’s communication skills will give the child confidence and self assurance in expressing himself. Often children want to tell their story and talk over each other and they need to be taught that this is not good communication. Children need to be taught that effective communication comes from listening and responding to what others say. It is up to parents to teach by example, listen to your child and respond appropriately, with respect, not condescension.
Meal times are a good time for a family to interact with each other and conversation at the dinner table should be encouraged. Parents should do everything they can to prevent dinner from being a negative experience. It is time to turn off the TV and discuss what the family has done that day. If good dinner family communication is established in childhood, teens will be more likely to take time to join in special occasion dinners with their family.
Open honest discussion within the family will allow parents and children to discuss all subjects including sex. It will allow parents to monitor what their children are hearing about sex, drugs and crime and how they are reacting to the things they are hearing. Parents will have to opportunity to correct any misconceptions the child may have and give the child the chance to ask for guidance and advice.
Being encouraged to communicate honestly and openly creates an atmosphere that allows family members to express their differences as well as love and admiration for one another. Parents and children will find they have a greater understanding of each other in an environment that is filled with love.
Raising healthy, happy, positive families is not rocket science it is common sense. Encourage communication, understand what your child is thinking and feeling and let them know you love and respect them and you will achieve a healthy, happy, positive family.