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Often times in family and peer relationships misunderstandings can lead to many problems. By communicating more clearly many problems can be avoided. Use “I” messages rather than “You” messages. “I” messages are more difficult because they require us to be clear about your own thoughts and feelings rather than the feelings of others.

However, “I” statements increase the chance that our messages will be heard and decrease the chance that conflict will begin or escalate. Teaching everyone in your family to use “I” messages as much as possible will make solving problems much more likely, and you can leave the focus on behaviors and how those behaviors are affecting you and your family.

You are much more likely to resolve problems when the focus is on behaviors and how those behaviors are affecting you or the family. “You” messages should be discouraged because they often lead to bad feelings and increased fighting. “You” messages seldom resolve the problem. 

Suggestions for strong communication:

  • Encourage family members to openly share thoughts and ideas
  • Spend quality time together as a family often
  • Every child is special and every child needs some special time when he can have his/her parent all to themselves
  • Look for unique opportunities to connect with your children
  • Strong families handle conflict fairly
  • Help foster trust in your family and relationships by being honest and open