Do you have ground rules in your house for effective communication? Well we do!
Negative family communication is where we have been – and what’s that teaching the children? To lie, to hurt each other, to score points and try to ‘win’ arguments regardless of the cost to human emotions of others?
Therefore, creating positive family communication is where it’s at. Teaching the children how to communicate effectively is not only a life skill, it’s an absolute necessity if I’m going to have half a chance with this battle.
At the start of teaching or training groups, it’s always important with a new group to establish some basic ground rules. I teach communication skills in the workplace and until now I’d not actively thought to bring this teaching home until now. Of course I will have been implementing these things day in, day out, but it’s something else to actually list them out!
I wrote a list of what I value about communication at home. You know what? I’m happy with these!
I’d love to know what you’d add to the list…
- No interrupting (wow this is the one that needs most frequent enforcement in our house!)
- We listen to each other and respond appropriately to what is said (and as a parent, model active listening)
- Listen to others with your eyes as well as your ears
- No shouting through rooms – stand in front of each other to speak
- Use eye contact
- I try to give a name to tones of voice so that they can learn the difference between a kind voice, an angry voice, a too loud voice and a sarcastic voice that could hurt someone’s feelings
- Everyone is allowed to express themselves – their concerns, their needs, their emotions (with children you can teach this by demonstration – make powerful statements such as “I have a right to be heard, and so do you” – like a positive affirmation)
- You can say what you feel – home is safe
- Everyone has a fair say because we respect each other
- If what you feel can’t be expressed in words, it’s ok to have physical release.
Number 10 is really important, because my kids are spending half their time with people who I know to display abusive behaviours – there’s a risk of that spilling out on the children and therefore I think they need physical release via an inanimate object, to get rid of the pent up tension.
Punching a cushion, whacking the swing ball or kicking a space hopper down the garden is absolutely 100% ok in my book. The release that my children have felt by having it normalised and ok to have this physical release is massive and makes them visibly happy.