We all know communication is very important. It’s vital to successful relationships at work. Effective communication is essential between spouses and among all family members, as well. People have different levels of communication skills and different communication styles. Communication skills can be improved and styles develop over time. Good communication makes better relationships which results in a stronger family.
Charlotte Shoup Olsen, Ph.D., Family Systems Specialist, K-State Research and Extension, is one of the authors of FamilyTALK: Making it Work. In the publication, Olsen offers tips for building family communication skills:
Look seriously at yourself first to see what type of communication patterns you are using — you have the most control over yourself in changing family interactions, rather than changing other family members.
Communication with family members involves talking, but listening is also important. Effective listening builds trust, but takes patience and hard work.
A way to show understanding is to use your own words to repeat the main points the other person has communicated. If you are not correct in understanding the speaker’s emotions and message, you need to repeat the process until the other person is satisfied that you understand.
Communication built on trust helps family members survive all kinds of tough times.
Families that enjoy each other build strong family relationships. When family members have fun together, they are calmer and behave more naturally. Having fun can be especially helpful for families who are struggling financially or are suffering other severe stresses.
Recently, Dr. Olsen gave a radio interview about family communication. Hearing the information in her own voice really brings the family communication concepts to life. You can Play Audio to hear the interview.
The publication FamilyTALK: Making it Work is also available.