Keep communication alive within the family
Edith Schaeffer in her book “What is a family?” he describes it as “unity and diversity, form and freedom, union and individuality”. Today, in our transient society, where values are constantly changing and everyone is concerned about their own interests, family members don’t have time to talk, listen, or even eat together. The family as a unit is on shaky ground. Most people believe that lack of communication within the family is responsible for this disintegration.
Every stable and healthy family is strengthened by communication that helps them get to know each other better and relate in a positive way. Each member, whether parent, child or sibling, has different perceptions of a given situation and different expectations. Lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings and avoidable stress. The objective of communication is not only to transmit information but to share thoughts, feelings and emotions.
What is communication?
It is the process of transmitting information to another person or persons, either verbally or non-verbally. Only 50% of communication is done through words. Nonverbal methods are through body language, facial expressions, or tone and tone of voice. Housewives use dramatic ways to communicate their anger by burning the food they are preparing or neglecting important tasks that they normally perform. In some situations silence is also a form of communication and often speaks better than words.
How to communicate effectively within the family:
Information that needs to be conveyed to someone is called instrumental communication. But it becomes Affective by giving members a chance to vent their feelings of joy, happiness, sadness, or anger.
• Communicate often. Whenever you find time, whether it’s during meals, at bedtime, or when traveling together, talk to each other. It’s good to have “family time” by turning off the TV, or the phone, or the computer, so there’s time to talk. Children with working parents may see them only at night, and “family time” is needed to inspire confidence in the love and concern of parents.
• Communicate clearly and directly. Refrain from making vague statements or sarcastic comments.
• Be an active listener to what others say. Show you’re attentive with a nod, a smile, or an occasional question.
• Provide an environment where members can be honest with each other and share their views and opinions. This creates a relationship of trust. Every person young or old is a respected member of the family.
• Communication between spouses is often different from the way parents communicate with their children and vice versa.
• Be aware of nonverbal messages, such as body language or facial expressions.
• Be positive. Criticism should not undermine a person’s self-esteem, but should increase confidence. Verbally congratulating the person is a way of showing appreciation, encouragement, and support.
• Show affection through a touch, word, smile or kiss.
Reasons for lack of communication:
1. If the father is autocrat. A parent should not decide how to solve a problem without discussing it with other members.
2. Very strict parents who impose impractical rules without considering the feelings of their children.
3. Lack of expressions of love either in words, gestures or behavior of the parents.
4. Lack of mutual respect.
5. Lack of time to communicate due to concern for their own careers.
Epstein et al (1993) described some forms of communication.
– Clear and Direct: The message is addressed to the person for whom it is intended.
– Clear but Indirect: Aimed at no one in particular.
– Masked and Indirect: When neither the message nor the recipient are clear.
Why is communication important?
• Because each member has the opportunity to express their needs, wishes or problems that concern them.
• Members become aware of their differences in an atmosphere of love and affection.
• Provides an opportunity to discuss problems and resolve them amicably. When there is no communication, problems remain unresolved, frustration arises and family conflicts increase. This prevents intimacy and emotional bonding. In marriage, lack of communication can lead to separation and divorce. In children, behavioral problems may arise. Later in life, antisocial behaviors or even deviant lifestyles may occur.
• The tone of voice indicates the mental state of the person. A loud and aggressive tirade is a destructive way of communicating. You have to be calm, clear and precise.
• Responding positively shows empathy with the person you are speaking with. No one should interrupt or jump to conclusions before listening to it.
• Each family has its own style and pattern of communication. There should be no comparisons with what other families are doing.
• For harmony within the family, each must appreciate the other’s strength and respect the other’s differences.
• Speak from the heart in a voice that expresses interest and concern. As Milton said,
“The voice that melts through the labyrinths, undoes all the chains that bind the hidden soul of harmony.”