Every family has its own rules and habits – even when it comes to communication. Some families have loud and wild discussions, others are quieter. It is important that all family members feel comfortable. Therefore, it is good to sit down from time to time to discuss the most important communication rules for your family. These could be, for example:
- Respectful listening
Actually a matter of course, but often not that easy in everyday life: When someone speaks, the others listen attentively. That means: everyone pays attention to whoever speaks. So, for example, the cell phone remains silent and is ignored. It is also clear that any kind of violence, both verbal and physical, is taboo. Nobody is insulted, threatened or laughed at. It is also important to give feedback: Did I understand you correctly? Do you mean it the way I interpret it?
- The right time
If you are currently not feeling able to have an attentive conversation, say so. There are always situations in which we are too stressed or too tense or too angry to communicate fairly. Then it is better to postpone the conversation. Arrange a later point in time when you will be reliably there. Perhaps a regular family conference is also suitable for your family. This gives family communication a regulated framework.
- Every opinion counts
Each family member has one vote. And every vote counts equally. Everyone should express their wishes as clearly as possible. But that doesn’t mean that you, as a parent, have to let everything go. If the big one wants to discuss for the time she has to be at home. Or if the little one doesn’t understand why his breakfast doesn’t consist of chocolate with gummy bears. You as parents have to clearly state what is possible and what is not. Show understanding for the wishes and explain your point of view. The more authentic you are as a parent, the easier it is for the children to follow you.
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- Suggestion box for children
No topic is taboo. Every family member is allowed to discuss their concerns in detail. If a topic is emotionally charged or too difficult for the children to discuss orally (such as illness, death, education …), they can also choose another form of communication, such as a “suggestion box” or a “question box”. How does it work? The children can write down their questions, worries or fears to share with the parents. You can also decide how to react to this: in a personal conversation, in writing or with information material such as age-appropriate books. This approach has the advantage that the children can still remain “in conversation” with their parents. Even if the face-to-face conversation is too uncomfortable or painful for them but the conversation remains.
5. Balance inequality
Being able to formulate arguments faster. The suggestion box is also suitable to compensate for this inequality. This way, children can work out and write down their opinions, arguments and points of view in peace. Try it out, it’s worth it!