Creating close, healthy family relationships is important but that doesn’t mean they come easily. Different families have different issues that drive them apart but every family can take steps to forge stronger bonds of love. With a few changes to your own behavior, you can begin to build better relationships with every member of your family, from your parents to your spouse to your children.
Here are a few suggestions from Dr. Glenn Pickering on simple changes that you can make to improve your family relationships:
1. Listen Carefully
Miscommunication is a common source of strife within families which usually starts when two people are talking but neither are listening. Instead of just trying to make your point, ask yourself “Do I understand what they are saying?” If you don’t, just admit it and ask them to summarize for you. Once you understand the point that they are making, it will become easier to make your own.
2. Speak Clearly
When it’s your turn to speak when having a disagreement with a family member, try to be clear about your feelings, wants and needs. Instead of criticizing the other person, make sure that everything you say is about you. This will make it easier for them to listen instead of becoming angry and defensive.
3. Find a Compromise
Once you and your family member understand each other, you can work toward a peaceful compromise that satisfies both people’s needs. Instead of trying to “win” the argument, look for an answer that makes both of you feel heard, understood and cared for.
4. Avoid Judgments
Everyone hates being judged. If you speak to a family member in a way that conveys judgment or disapproval, it may quickly lead to a feud. Unless a family member’s actions are directly harmful to you, try to accept the things they do even when you don’t understand them or agree with them. Remember, love starts with acceptance.
If you feel that you need help to improve relationships with your family, contact Dr. Glenn Pickering today! With over 30 years of experience in family counseling, Dr. Glenn can assist you in working through any family issues, either virtually or in-person.