Building Strong Family Relationships

August 19, 2013 – 01:46 pm

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Our society thrives on strong families.

Our family teaches us how to function in the world. It should provide love and warmth to all of its members. A strong family gives its members the support they need to make it through life’s toughest spots.

Strong families have good communication.

Strong families have open lines of communication - where all family members feel heard and respected. One of the best ways to strengthen your family is to increase your listening skills and those of other family members. Until we can hear each other, we cannot build strong relationships.

To build strong family relationships, listen actively to each other.

  • Give the person your full attention, turn off the TV or put down what you are doing.
  • Focus on what the person is telling you - rather than thinking about your reaction or response to what is being said. (There will be time for that.)
  • Listen for how the other person is feeling and relay back what you think they were saying and how they are feeling. ―I hear you saying that you don’t like your sister. You look pretty mad. Did something happen?
  • Resist giving advice or your reaction until you are certain you have fully understood what the person was saying to you.
  • Use “I” messages rather than “You” messages when talking.

  • I messages are more difficult because they require us to be clear about our own thoughts and feelings. They, however, increase the chances that our message will be heard and decrease the chances that a fight will begin.
  • "I don’t like all this fighting. It upsets me to see the two of you not getting along." Rather than ― "What’s wrong with the two of you? You’ are making me crazy! Can’t you ever get along?"
  • Source: extension.udel.edu


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