Mastering Family Communication. Balancing needs, goals and better listening.
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Better communication in families should always be a goal. It means being heard, understood and being able to achieve family goals.
When we work with families, one of our goals is always to improve communication skills. Ours, theirs and their Risky Kids! The better we are at this, the more we can make ourselves and our needs known.
- Active listening is the foremost skill in communication. Learn ways to implement it at home.
- Fostering Open Dialogue is all about intentional time and effort to create opportunities for it,
- Resolving conflicts constructively not only means less conflict, but a healthier understanding of it.
Listening is a crucial aspect of effective communication. Take the time to actively listen to your children and partner, giving them your full attention.
- Active listening is a skill in itself, learn it!
- Make use of a symbol which represents who’s allowed to speak,
- Practise, practise, practise your active listening!
Show genuine interest in what they have to say, maintain eye contact, and avoid interrupting. By demonstrating that you value their thoughts and opinions, you create an atmosphere of trust and openness. Here’s a couple of examples of how you can improve Active Listening at home!
- During family conversations, designate a “talking stick” or an object that symbolises the person speaking. Only the person holding the object is allowed to speak, while others listen attentively.
- Practise active listening by summarising or paraphrasing what the speaker has said to ensure understanding and show that you’re genuinely engaged.
Encourage open dialogue within the family by creating a safe and judgement-free space for communication. Encourage your children to express their feelings, thoughts, and concerns.
- Healthy communication is about empathy and perspective,
- Plan to have regular family meetings for discussions,
- Create a communication journal for the whole family to use,
Be responsive and understanding, even if their opinions differ from yours. Remember that healthy communication involves respecting each other’s perspectives. Here’s a couple of examples of how you can foster Open Dialogue at home!
- Establish regular family meetings where everyone has an opportunity to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Encourage each family member to contribute and actively participate in discussions.
- Create a “communication journal” where family members can write down their thoughts, feelings, or questions anonymously. Set aside time to read and discuss these entries together, fostering open dialogue without fear of judgement.
Resolving Conflicts Constructively
Conflicts are inevitable in any family, but how they are handled can greatly impact communication.
- Working through conflict teaches valuable skills,
- Establish family guidelines in advance for resolving conflict,
- When emotions are running high, set aside time to cool off,
Teach your children healthy conflict resolution skills, such as active listening, expressing emotions calmly, and seeking compromises.
As parents, model these skills in your own interactions and avoid resorting to yelling or aggression. By resolving conflicts constructively, you teach your children valuable communication tools. Here’s a couple of examples of how you can improve your Non-Verbal communication at home!
- Establish family guidelines or rules for conflict resolution, such as taking turns speaking, using “I” statements to express feelings, and actively seeking solutions.
- When conflicts arise, encourage family members to take a short break to calm down and reflect. Then, gather together to discuss the issue calmly and search for compromises that satisfy everyone involved.
Improving communication within a family is an ongoing process that requires patience, empathy, and consistent effort.
Remember, these are just examples, and it’s important to adapt them to your family’s dynamics and preferences. By implementing these practices, you can create a positive communication environment in your home.
Risky Kids Founder, Director of Programming
Richard Williams is a fitness industry consultant, gym owner, business coach and professional stunt actor with more than a decade of experience in the health and fitness industry. With an education in psychology and criminology, Richard blended life experience as a fitness industry consultant with Spartan Race, gym owner, elite-obstacle racer, ultra-runner and professional stunt actor to create the Risky Kids program.
Richard has a passion for enacting meaningful social change through all avenues of health and wellbeing and believes that obstacles are the way. Some of Richard’s key achievements include:
- Key consultant/coordinator Spartan Race/Tough Mudder/Extreme Endurance
- OCR World Championship Finalist – Team & Solo (2015)
- OCR World Championship Silver Medallist – Team Endurance (2018)
- Professional film and television stunt performer for 15 years
Considered one of Australia’s foremost experts in the fields of fitness, wellbeing and behavioural science, Richard is frequently in demand as a guest speaker for relevant government and non-
government bodies and organisations. Speaking engagements centred on the success of the Risky Kids program, philosophy and approach have included:
- Expert speaker/panellist Sports & Camp; Recreation Victoria and Outdoors Victoria forums
- Closing expert speaker at the Australian Camps Association National Conference
- Expert speaker at the National Fitness Expo, FILEX