Wise families talk to each other in ways that show respect and are clear and direct. Back talk – smart mouth – sassing – rude – stomping off – slamming doors – If your family is like most, this kind of behavior happens in your house (or at the grocery store). We all know that talking to one other disrespectfully is, just, disrespectful – but what do we do about it? Wash the kid’s mouth out? Lock them in the basement? Sass them back?
When there are disagreements, and there will be, healthy families discuss the issues and come to a compromise resolution. We are BIG fans of the family meeting! Everyone is encouraged to talk freely. And sometimes they agree to disagree! Discussing ideas with respect, however, leads to increased intimacy and a strong sense of acceptance in the family.
All members of the family are encouraged to say what they think, even if their ideas are different from the rest of the family’s. Family members are also encouraged to speak for themselves, even the youngest. No one is allowed to say what they believe others in the family should think. And no one is allowed to make fun of, or put down, what others think. Set some clear ground rules for what is acceptable to say and what isn’t so everyone knows how to act in the family meeting.
The WISE family handles conflict, stress, and crises well. They look for and use multiple ways of dealing with these problems. In facing issues, the healthy family knows there will be different opinions and feelings. Rather than try to deny these differences, the healthy family allows them, knowing this is the way to getting new ideas for dealing with issues that face them. When families are good at dealing with problems, they tend to have fewer problems overall.
One way to improve communication is to have everyone present, make ground rules clear, then ask each one in the family for their opinion about the issues. Some younger kids may not have any idea. That’s okay. They’re gaining valuable experience just listening to others. Everyone gets to have their say, then you as parents get together and make the final decision. Yes, you get the final decision – enjoy it while you can!
Do you have a comment to share with us? Want to give us more insight into the stuff you see on your parenting journey? Send us a comment below – we read and respond to everything you share! And we LOVE a good (or way the opposite of good) family story!
Until next week, Be Wise!
“Dr. Amy brings together the best emotion-focused strategies with cutting-edge brain science to change the lives of children and families”— Parent of adopted twin girls
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Thank you for doing what you do for so many people.”—from the parent of two former clients (siblings)— Parent of two former clients (siblings)