The family is the most basic unit of society. It’s where children are first taught lessons to help them in life, it’s where they learn about love and nurture. Strong family ties are important as it gives support through whatever struggles life can throw at you. Regardless of current family situations, it’s important to maintain a healthy relationship (which might even mean distance) with everyone involved
To help you discover how you can keep good family relations, below are some tips to get you started.
Always Keep Communications Open
Many problems can be avoided simply by communicating and discussing things openly. That’s why keeping communication lines open is necessary. From calling or texting to being able to handle open communication face to face, there is a need for being able to express what you truly feel. By saying what you feel and expressing any emotions you carry, you and your family can provide context or reason behind your actions. This leads to a better understanding of why something happens and can lead to better ways to prevent it. Communication is important in many different contexts, but none more so in the context of a family.
Don’t Assume, Directly Ask Instead
In line with keeping communications open, being able to ask each other about troubles and thoughts is something everyone in the family should practice. Not everybody is comfortable expressing their feelings, and we don’t mind readers either. So if you think something is bothering a family member, it’s better to ask directly than to let the situation feel tenser.
Children should be taught that confronting emotions and situations is the better solution than keeping all the negativity in themselves. These negative emotions, when bottled in, can accumulate and implode, making matters worse. Confronting problems in a calm manner is something that we adults should teach children, and it’s best to start teaching this at home, where children’s primary influences are.
Set Clear Rules and Agreements
This advice is particularly significant advice not just for regular families, but even ones with a non-traditional situation, such as divorce. It’s important to set what is okay and what isn’t. Respecting each other’s boundaries and preferences is important in showing our concern for each other. In the case of a separated family, it’s important to get a child custody attorney involved to settle matters. This guarantees that you, as a parent, can still provide adequate parental care to your child without impeding on your former partner’s rights.
Practice Active Listening and Be Present as a Parent
During the developmental years of your children, it’s important that they see in you as parents the values that you want to impart to them. Together with teaching your kids proper communication is the ability to listen well. As parents, practice putting away your phone or other gadgets and truly being present whenever you are spending time with your kids. Instead of listening with the intent to answer or give advice (particularly if you haven’t heard the full story yet), focus on what your children are telling you.
Relay to them how you think you understand them and ask them further questions so they can try and express themselves more. Taking the time to listen to your children can help you understand them better. They will also feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with you this way because they can see that you do not brush them off or wave them away.
Don’t Direct Anger Outward; Explain Yourself Better
Nobody is perfect and we inevitably get angry sometimes when stress piles up. But as adults, we should be good role models despite our emotions and still practice restraint. Instead of blaming children and directing your anger towards them, do your best to explain why you are feeling upset. Say, “I don’t appreciate that you’re fighting over that toy and it upsets me that you won’t share it,” instead of, “You two should stop fighting and just share that toy.”
This way of expressing anger does not blame the other person but instead gives them the opportunity to listen and understand what is upsetting them. Modeling this type of communication can help your children develop emotional maturity which they can carry over to their adulthood.
Having a family can be very rewarding and fulfilling. But it takes a lot of work and effort. Hopefully, the tips provided here can give you more ideas on how to keep better family relations, regardless of your current filial situation.