Keeping The Love Lines Open
You can enjoy special rewards for being part of
a family. These include friendship love and closeness, sharing
for support and understanding, and acceptance of each other just
as we are. However, the needs of family members change
constantly. Most changes are natural to growing older and wiser
together. Honest communication and careful listening can help
assure that your family stays in tune, sharing maximum love and
Review Your Family Patterns
Do you feel that you understand each other's
needs? Do family conflicts reach a satisfactory end? Here are
- Is your approach positive, starting with
how you feel? For example, "I feel important when
you listen to me
- Are you specific about the issue at hand?
If you criticize, are you constructive? For example,
"You didn't make your bed this morning. If you need
more time, we can
- Can you negotiate? Even if you disagree on
an issue, can you agree on a compromise? For example,
"I don't agree, but I'll try for a week because I
understand your reasons."
Are These Problems Familiar?
Outside friends, school or work activities,
separation of family members, and just plain fatigue can create
problems. Messages become unclear because it's easier to blame or
bully than to take the time to discuss things. You may hold back
because you don't want to "start something."
As unresolved problems build, mutual respect
can disappear. Finally, there just doesn't seem to be enough time
or energy to pay attention to each other.
Try These Solutions
Here are standard guidelines for health
- Be honest and share feelings.
- Listen and watch so you know when others
- Develop a manner of speech that is open
- Take responsibility for personal thoughts
- Regularly discuss values and beliefs.
- Encourage positive values, and act as a
Create Quality Time
Your family may find that it's a lot easier to
be patient with each other when all of you know what's going on.
Some families set aside an hour a week just to talk about
individual and group needs.
Some working patents feel that the first five
minutes after they get home is critical. Regardless of how tough
a day has been, taking the time for an individual greeting and
hug says, "I recognize you."
Tub time, tuck in time, kitchen time and other
short periods can be a loving time when someone is willing to
listen. A bonus is that, when you pay attention to trivial
things, your children may be encouraged to talk about the serious
Family counselors can help when there's no
understanding or mutual effort to make things better. Each family
member can learn to listen, to talk, to fight fair, to compromise
and to cooperate.
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