Improving Family Communication – Part 2

What makes family communication worse?

  • Criticizing or using a voice with contempt
  • Using hot button words: always, never, you, should
  • Dismissing, blaming, shaming, threats, exaggerating, defensiveness, teasing , silent treatment
  • Using too many words
  • Not validating other person’s experiences
  • Having unreasonable expectations
  • Being critical or condescending
  • Name calling
  • Using closed ended questions – answers are “yes” or “no”
  • Engaging in power struggles
  • Not apologizing ever
  • Reacting to issue at hand
  • Being overly emotional – if parents are too mad or in a rage over issue at hand
  • Experiencing too much family stress
  • Trying to change the other person
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Parenting at odds with co-parent/grandparents/other caregivers
  • Having conditional love
  • Experiencing untreated mental health issues in the family

What makes family communication better?

  • Using loving and non-emotional tone – clinical in the nicest way
  • Treating family members with respect
  • Using fewer words
  • Validating other person’s experiences
  • Having reasonable expectations – age, ability and circumstances
  • Being encouraging
  • Empathizing
  • Using open ended questions – answers are more elaborate, more opportunity for back and forth talking
  • Not engaging in power struggles
  • Apologizing
  • Responding – think before talking, after time out allow parent & child time to calm down emotionally
  • Waiting 15 minutes before handling issue if parent is over-mad
  • Living in a relaxed and calm atmosphere
  • Accepting that each person is different and that each person is allowed to be who he or she is
  • Using when . . . then statements
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Agreeing on parenting strategies with co-parent/grandparents/other caregivers
  • Having unconditional love
  • Treating mental health issues in the family


Parent Talk: How to Talk to Your Children in Language That Builds Self-Esteem and Encourages Responsibility by Chick Moorman (publ. 2003)

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (How to Help Your Child) by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (publ. 2001 – updated)

Raising Your Spirited Child Rev Ed: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive,

Persistent, and Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka (publ. 2006 – updated)

Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning for a Lifetime by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka             (publ. 2001)

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child:  The Heart of Parenting by John Gottman (publ. 1998 – updated)



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top