6 Effective Family Communication Tips

Maybe you feel like every time you try to discuss something important with one of your family members, you end up fighting. Perhaps conversations tend to come to a stalemate because you can’t seem to agree on anything. You might have trouble being honest about your boundaries with your family or speaking from the heart.

Unfortunately, communication isn’t always easy, even for loving families. It can be hard to say what’s really on your mind, come up with fair compromises, and even simply broach tough topics within a family unit. Here are a few strategies that will help you improve your communication with your family.

1. Take Time to Cool Off

Are you upset about something that a family member said or did? Don’t try to discuss it right away when your emotions are still running high. Instead, take a few minutes to step back from the situation and cool off. Once you’ve calmed down, you’ll be able to approach the subject with a cool head.

2. Choose the Right Time and Place

When you need to talk to one of your relatives about something important:

  • Try not to spring the conversation on them randomly.

  • Wait for an appropriate time and place.

  • Have a private space to talk and plenty of time to say everything on your mind.

Sometimes, you might even need to make a plan to bring your family members together for a crucial conversation. Planning in advance can make for better conversations.

3. Practice Active Listening

If you’re talking to your relative, you might be primarily focused on what you’re saying. But being a good listener is equally important. When one of your relatives is opening up to you, keep your attention fixed on them. Don’t let your thoughts wander, and don’t check your phone. People can tell when they’re not being heard, and it will make your relative feel like their feelings don’t matter to you. Make sure to ask questions to ensure that your loved one knows that you’re listening.

4. Attack Problems, Not Each Other

A shift in perspective can help you and your family members change the way you approach problem-solving. Sometimes, families fight because they put their energy into attacking each other rather than the problem at hand. It’s easy to point fingers and place blame, but this won’t help you find a solution. Instead, work on coming together as a team so that you can put your time and effort into solving the problems at hand instead.

5. Think Before You Speak

Have you ever hurled insults at a family member, only to regret it later? Everyone has probably given in to this urge at one point or another—and although it’s important to say what’s on your mind, you need to be able to say it with kindness. If you’re on the verge of saying something nasty, take a second to think before you speak and change your tone. Giving in to insults is never a good idea, and after the argument, you’ll end up wishing you could take it back.

6. Be Honest and Seek Clarity

Yes, considering your tone and choice of words is essential—but at the end of the day, you need to be honest in family conversations. When you express your needs, be clear and straightforward. If you’re ambiguous, you risk being misunderstood. Being authentic can be tough sometimes, but being vague will not help you solve problems or repair relationships.

Are you struggling with family communication? Working with a therapist can help. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session for parenting therapy.