With more methods of communication than ever before it might seem like today’s families should have no problem staying in touch and involved with each other. Unfortunately, sometimes the exact opposite occurs. Somewhere between all of these options true communication slips through the cracks.
Many families are not even aware of how well they communicate until they are forced to think about their methods and results. The questions below have been put together to help you determine if you family communicates well, or if you need to rethink your strategies.
Take the Family Communication Questionnaire
1. Does your family return your texts and calls promptly? 2. Are you connected to your family members on social media like Facebook? 3. Does your family share mealtimes and conversation most nights? 4. When you want to have important conversations, do you find private places? 5. Do your family members come to you when they have worries or problems? 6. Do you let your family members lead interactions as appropriate? 7. When your family has conversations, do you all talk as well as listen? 8. Does each family member take an interest in all others’ lives? 9. Do you recognise non-verbal cues that help transmit true feelings? 10. Are all family members experienced and interested in finding compromises? 11. Are all family members able to verbally apologise to each other? 12. Are all family members able to verbally praise and/or express love for each other?
Does Your Family Communicate Well?
If you answered “yes” to 0-4 questions – your family most likely does not communicate well. It may be that some family members prefer to communicate via electronic means while others prefer face-to-face interactions, or that some prefer to express things through actions while others need words. Whatever the case, your answers indicate that not everyone knows which route to take in communicating with each other so the chances of misunderstandings are high. If possible, gather your family together to discuss as a unit how you would like to move forward with communication, and come to an agreement about which methods to use in which situations.
If you answered “yes” to 5-8 questions – your family probably communicates at an acceptable level. It is likely that your family already has some ground rules, such as that children must answer parents’ texts immediately or allow parents access to their social media accounts, but it might be that your family still has a hard time using these channels to the best effect. Consider what you think defines good family communication and ask everyone else for their thoughts during a full family conversation. Practice compromising and decide together what good family communication will be like in the future.
If you answered “yes” to 9 or more questions – your family most likely communicates well. It seems as though all family members communicate with each other, probably through multiple methods, and are all able to let each other know what they think or feel at any given time. If you do have glaring exceptions, such as that no one in the family is able to say “I’m sorry” or “I love you”, chat with your family about why this bothers you and why you think this situation has developed. Don’t forget to express how proud you are of family communication in all other areas, and that you only bring up this subject because you want to try to make good communication into great communication.
Find out how effective your discipline methods are by taking our questionnaire Do You Encourage Discipline And Respect?.