There are several reasons why families tend to grow apart. Schedules may conflict, and coordinating time together may be difficult. This lack of family engagement can lead to a breakdown in communication. Luckily, open communication within the family can be built by incorporating some lifestyle changes and new activities. Family time is essential and beneficial to mental and emotional health. Parents can encourage open communication within their families by doing the following.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Parents should aim to ask their children questions that will require them to think a little more about the answer. Asking open-ended questions are less specific questions that don’t take a simple yes or no. This challenges one to think a bit deeper into how they truly feel which helps develop a deeper family connection. Open-ended questions allow parents to learn more about their children.
Don’t Be Judgmental
Although it’s pretty normal for family members to casually joke around with one another, it’s still important for members to remain nonjudgmental. When people feel as though they’re being judged, they tend to withhold their true emotions. Thus, it’s vital for parents especially to remain open-minded and empathetic when listening to their children so that their children feel comfortable opening up to their parents.
Eat Meals Together
Having family rituals help to establish a sense of security and confidence within children. Eating at least one meal together as a family every day has emotional and psychological benefits for everyone. It also gives everyone a positive experience to look forward to where each person has the opportunity to talk about their day.
Confront the Problem, Not Each Other
Families can encourage open communication by focusing on specific problems as they arise instead of attacking each other. Families should function and live as a team, managing problems together. If someone becomes overwhelmed, it’s important to refrain from adding to the pressure or playing the blame game.
Schedule Family Time
Aside from eating dinner together, families can create other family rituals to do. For instance, families can designate every Saturday to order from a favorite restaurant or partake in a game night. Scheduling family time will tighten up the bond which will make it much easier to communicate openly and honestly.