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Relationship Building: How To Effectively Communicate With Your Family

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Relationships—Last weekend our family decided to take a small road trip to the mountains in the northern part of our state. We went looking for the changing leaves, picturesque views, pumpkins, and fresh apples. We did find those things, but we found something else too, which was quite disturbing.

As we stopped at each location, we were extremely surprised to hear how hateful families were speaking to one another; from child to parent and parent to child. Knowing that usually in public, people are on their best behavior, it was troubling to think how much worse these discussions could have been in a private setting. These displays were generally not arguments, but one-sided yelling in a hateful tone.

I refrained from my initial urge to play peacemaker. After all, if they talked to the ones they most loved so horribly, I can only imagine how they would have responded to me. Needless to say, the events of the day brought about great discussions within our family.

I hope these families were just having an off day. I know our family has had them. The sad thing is we usually speak kinder to people we do not know than the people we love the most. One thing my mom would always say when she thought my tone was out of line was, “I wish I had a tape recorder.” The funny thing is, I sometimes responded with, “I wish you did too.” Sometimes, I don’t think we realize how we sound to others. It is so important to pay careful attention to not only what we say to our children, but how we say it.

Children are imitators of what they see and hear. If you are wondering where your child learned to speak in a way that is unbecoming, chances are he learned it from you. If not directly from you, from the TV shows or movies you allow him to watch, or the friends you allow him to spend his time with. He or she is not only influenced by those people, but by your adult friends and the parents of your child’s friends.

If you haven’t already, become conscious of your tone of voice and how you speak to others; especially those in your household. There are three important questions my Dad taught me to ask myself before saying anything and the last one is very important for this topic. The questions are: "Is it true?", "Does it really need to be said?", and "Can it be said in love?"

If you can’t answer yes to one of these questions, then you should probably keep your opinions to yourself. Let’s make sure when speaking to our children that everything is said in love. If you find your children speaking in a hateful tone, ask them to repeat their statement in a kinder way until you are satisfied with how it sounds. Chances are if your children are imitating what they see and hear, they may not realize how they sound. Give them the benefit of the doubt and let them try their statement again. You can also ask them to hold you accountable for how you speak to others. I promise this has worked in our family. From today forward, let us always speak in love.

How do you effectively communicate with your family? What steps do you take to watch your tone when speaking with your children?

Alicia Ivey has a great relationship with her parents and strives to have that same relationship with her daughter.  Recognizing the way we speak to each other is one of the first steps in forming that special bond within your family.  Alicia enjoys singing, speaking and freelance writing.  She shares her words of wisdom by writing for My Baby Clothes dot com, where you can find all of the latest styles in baby clothes, tutus and baby hats.

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2 Responses to “Relationship Building: How To Effectively Communicate With Your Family”

  1. Mary says:

    This is such a great post! My kids are always amazed how moms holler at their kids and how the kids talk back to their moms – it is one thing to do this at the grocery store right around dinner time (whoever shops when they’re hungry and takes hungry kids into the grocery store is pretty much asking for it…) but it is an entirely different thing when we are visiting places that are supposed to be family friendly – the zoo, a kids museum, a national park etc.

    One thing we have tried to be conscious of is making jokes at each other’s expense. There are a lot of families that put each other down while “just joking”. It’s not really funny and often its just hurtful. My kids are amazing about this. They really are supportive of each other and when there is someone who visits who tries to engage in this kind of humor my kids never “politely laugh along” they just don’t react and often times end the conversation – not in a way that makes the person doing it feel bad – they have been making these kind of jokes their whole lives and probably don’t even realize how hurtful it can be – but the kids just move on to something else and it totally stops that line of joking in its tracks.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your experience with us today because it is something that we have to remind ourselves about over and over. From today forward, let us always speak with love. (That is going on my bulletin board right now)

  2. Alicia Ivey says:

    Thank you Marie! What a great thing to pass on to my 7 yr old…to know when and how to change the subject. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

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