In the course of family life, somehow people stop talking to each other, think they can read each other’s minds and start feeling resentful when it doesn’t all work out….what??? We all know that in order to get our work environments to work that we have to share information with people directly involved win our projects but somehow don’t remember to do the same at home. Relationships make the world go round and communication is essential to building connection that fuels relationship.
And, yes, I do know that there are people at work who also don’t know how to communicate! I used to routinely have meetings with the administrative teams of the schools I worked in, back in the days of school social work, for the same reason. Everyone was scurrying around doing things, talking to kids and families, and nobody let each other know. So we’d end up all doing the same task wasting precious time and resources. Our meetings cut down on repeats of tasks by sharing information and then assigning work to a particular person so the roles were clear.
In our current world often all the family caregivers are working outside of the home. There are stay at home parents in some families and they too have busy lives. Kids are more involved in activities. Sometimes we even have our parents or other family members living with us. This causes an excess of things to do, so why are we talking less?
When people, in their closest relationships, feel unseen or unheard or disrespected or taken advantage of, they start to build up a core negative idea of who the other person is, build resentments and shut down to connection and partnership.
In couples/family counseling we work at taking down those walls of shame/anger/fear to reconnect people to feel like they have each other’s backs instead of fighting each other to figure out who’s “Right” and who’s “Wrong”. When you’re in the Blame Game, ain’t nothing going to change.
Whether your household is 2 people or 6, it pays to spend some time fixing relationships so you have a warm loving environment where people see and hear each other and help each other out.
I’m a big fan of regularly scheduled meetings. Random meetings tend to not happen (another good thing to blame each other for!) I think that if we can organize or give that meeting some structure we can keep our lines of communication open and effective. If our lines of communication are more open there is more chance to build connection with each other.
A few years ago I developed these handouts for couples and families I was working with. Feel free to click the link, download or adapt the outline, and start your family meeting next week. Hopefully, you will find it helpful.