"Family Communication Is A Foundation"
Family communication includes
• Daily conversations and discussions, whenever possible.
• Goal setting, short term and long term.
• Two way or one way, as the case fits.
• Freedom to express oneself.
• Sometimes consensus.
• Sometimes compromise.
• Sometimes agree to disagree.
• Spontaneity which is perfectly acceptable too.
Get to know your kids. Get to know your spouse or significant other. Things change. People change. Find out what makes these very important people tick. We tell our friends to keep in touch - got to do the same thing with your kids and your partner.
If you have pets, do you notice if you spend better quality time with your pets than you do with the human members in your family?
"Family Communication Benefits"
The benefits of family communication are huge. All important relationships require work. So if you want a great relationship with your kids then you have to work it. Same with your marriage. And you deserve support from your family too.
The last place for a person to feel insignificant should be in the home. But even today, that's not true.
Adults and children alike may feel that how they feel and what they think, is unimportant. That belittles your self esteem. A family is a good place to practice democracy, when appropriate. But it's also a good place to be an autocrat when issues are very important and the stakes are high.
"Family Communication For Your Child's Needs"
Children need guidelines.
Children need rules.
Children need routine.
Children need boundaries.
Children need age appropriate responsibilities.
Children need to know what expectations you have.
Children need explanations.
Children need to know it's okay to make mistakes and then how to correct them or prevent them.
In fact, it adds to your kid's feelings of security when they have these things. Repetition also adds to their security. When you do these things, they know you care. Start when they're young.
Discuss these things as much as possible with your partner. Discuss as needed with your kids. That depends on their age and maturity level. There still has to be balance. Don't be rigid. But don't be so lax, that it's meaningless.
Again, make sure you are making the important decisions about their health, their education, etc. They don't have your experience.
"Kids Will Test Their Boundaries."
They're human. Even adults will test their limits with their partners, on the job.
Kids will test you over and over again. If you allow the boundaries to get bigger and bigger, they will drive you up the wall. Not just that, they may eventually endanger themselves and others.
When they test you, they want to know how much you really care. You have to rally up whatever courage you have and make your boundaries clear. If you don't take a stand, then they will get out of control. You have to respect yourself and have good self-esteem, to do a proper job at parenting.
No one likes surprises. It's better to start when they're young. A major change in your behaviour when your kids are teenagers can be explosive, in which case, you'll have to approach it much differently than you would with much younger kids. But even with teenagers, it's not too late. But it may take a lot of work to help them with the change. Again, explanations are in order, over and over again, as necessary.
They need to know why and they need to know you care and love them. So family communication must always be present.
"They Didn't Learn"
A friend of mine owns a nice lakeside cabin. People in this area naturally love boating and have lots of toys to do so and some very expensive ones too. We were getting a boat tour of the lake with him, when he told us about a reef in the lake. It used to have a marker on it to warn people, but most people who know the lake, know to stay clear of the area or move well around it.
He has some nice neighbours down the shore. They are well off and have nice toys. The daughter and the son took one of the speed boats one day and gleefully went on a spin on the lake. They came up to the reef and didn't avoid it. In fact they got into a bad accident and barely escaped without injury, but totaled the boat. it was a write-off.
Of course the parents were very concerned and worried about the safety of the kids and thank goodness everything was okay. No one was hurt. Everyone survived.
So the boat was replaced.
Sometime later, the son took that new boat out by himself. AND went over the reef again and wrecked the new boat. Again, the boy was safe and sound.
Okay, accidents happen. The first time.
In this case, there was no doubt that neither the parents nor the kids learned anything from the first experience. If the kids do it again, they may not be so lucky.
There was no family communication for teaching. Make sure lessons are learned. Use family communication to do this.
Remember, your kids are observing you. That's how they learn. Children learn what they live and they live what they learn. So it's important to set the tone.
"You Set The Tone"
That tone is open, honest communication. It takes courage to tell the truth and say what's on your mind. It takes effort to be consistent. But you must be this way.
That's effective family communication. It's about respect.
Make your messages as clear as possible. As you practice this every day and at every opportunity, regardless of who you are speaking to, you'll see a change in the way other people treat you.
So really good clear communication benefits everyone.
If your children aren't cooperating in any way, it may not be just to annoy you. Maybe they don't have a clear understanding of what you want from them and why it is important. So give them as much information as possible. Spend that time with them. Be friendly and firm and matter-of-fact about it.
"Family Communication For Understanding"
My oldest son, Nolan, used to get very upset when we left for work. We'd drop him off with his baby sitter and he'd cry. A perfectly natural thing for a toddler to do. We thought it was because he missed us. That was our point of view.
It wasn't until he was old enough to clearly talk to us, when I realized what the problem was. In Nolan's case, he told me that he was upset because he thought Mommy and Daddy went away every day to play without him.
Of course, that's how a little kid would look at the world. So I took the time to explain, in simple language, what Mommy and Daddy did everyday and why we did it.
"The Why IS Important"
I told Nolan that we had to work because we needed money for the house, for the food, for the car, for his toys, his clothes, his bed, everything. I told him that if we didn't have the money, we wouldn't have these things.
He was satisfied with the answer. It made sense. He may not have totally understood what it all meant, but I think when your child feels you care about him, they'll accept what you tell them.
Your children appreciate it when you take the time to talk to them. And so does your partner. Remember, you are in a family. It's full of relationships. If the relationships are important to you, then it's important to talk to each other.
No one likes being in the dark.
Another thing to do, is just ask, if they are upset: What's bothering you or is there something you want to ask me?
There are lots of things you can discuss and negotiate with your kids. But there are other things which are very important, such as diet, rest, health issues, behaviour, school work, work, etc where your strong opinion counts.
Remember, you are not on this earth to serve your kids.
You are the adult in the relationship. Your experience counts for something. You have their best interest in mind. They are looking to you for loving authority. Family communication keeps things clear.
They have to eat well. They have to rest properly. They have to go to school. They have to behave at home or at school or on their soccer team, etc. They have to cooperate. They have to get proper medical help when it's required. These are not choices left to your kids.
They are within your jurisdiction. Asking kids to make decisions like these can either scare them or they make decisions without having the experience to weigh pros and cons because they don't know what they are. You have that experience.
Then explain, explain, explain. Monitor and correct them as required. Good family communication requires commitment and effort from each member of the family. Encourage your kids to come to you when there's a problem.
"When There's Real Danger"
I used to tell my sons, that if anyone were to ever to do something to them that they knew was wrong, namely sexual abuse, that they were to tell me right away.
I framed it this way . There are bad people. Those bad people might threaten them not to tell anyone what happened "or else". But I made it clear to my boys that their "or else" wouldn't stand up to how I would handle the situation. God help the person who tried to harm my kids. Mama Bear would take care of things.
Use family communication to make sure your kids know that you'll protect them. With young kids, you may have to exaggerate to make a strong point.
It's okay for you to the be the "bad guy" once in a while. Arrange for your kids to call and ask your permission for going out with friends or doing anything they don't want to do, but are being pressured to do. You can say "No" and look bad to everyone else. But you don't care. And your kids are safe and not in trouble.
This of course requires that you have good family communication and are on good terms and in regular physical contact with your kids.
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