One key element of a healthy family relationship is communication. The quality of great human relationships largely depends on how we talk to one another.  Our tone of voice, cadence and volume, non-verbal gestures and motives are important aspects that we are often unaware of. We should feel comfortable sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings among the people we love however many families have generational patterns of poor communication.

Communication in families is important so that each member respects each other’s needs and wants.  In families with poor communication they tend to lack respect for each other, engage in arguments more often, mind read other’s thoughts, develop resentments more often, and they don’t know how to talk to each other in healthy ways.

Below are some guides to effective communication with family:

* Listen to the other person’s complaints

We all have to be on the receiving end of a complaint at some point in life.  Family members will benefit from being open and receptive to feedback, keeping a cool-head, and being reasonable.  The open-mindedness and a receptive temperament might allow you to see their perspective and help you become a better person. Don’t answer a complaint with a complaint.

* Discuss don’t attack

This tip can prevent conflicts.  We all have different personalities and we respond to our life circumstances differently, we need this tip.  If we have an issue to address with a loved one, we can try to tell them how we feel. If it’s a minor irritation and it continues to bother you try saying: “I know this seems petty, but it’s really getting to me, so I thought you’d want me to talk to you about it”.  Using “I” statements can reduce blame and defensiveness.

* Keep the voice low and pleasant

When emotions run high, voices get high and then there could be trouble. Speaking in a low voice can significantly reduce conflicts and change your home atmosphere into a more pleasant environment.

* Stick to the subject

When you want to address an issue with a family member try speaking about one issue rather that using it as an opportunity to list eight other things you have been meaning to bring up.  One issue at a time is a more effective method to prevent confusion.

* Don’t make demands

Some of us grew up hearing “it’s my way or the high way”. This style demands that we get our way and limits opportunities for other’s to feel heard and respected.  It’s helpful to allow the other person to offer suggestions for mutual coming to terms with problems.  Having a variety of ideas and solutions to issues can enhance your relationships.

In summary,  courtesy towards family generally generates courtesy.  Using the above mentioned guides can help you become pleased with yourself and enjoy interactions with those you love.  These tips can help remind the whole family that they are people with a mind, soul, a set of emotions that are unique in many ways. They are family members you respect, are considerate of, and want to treat with love and courtesy.