Family Problem Solving

Family Problem Solving-34
Families can improve their communication skills by following some suggestions for building effective family communication. Communication is a key to successful family functioning.

Families can improve their communication skills by following some suggestions for building effective family communication.

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I’d long suspected as much and tested my hypothesis.

A few days prior, I had stopped trying to solve perceived problems and, in the following days, seen hard evidence that my efforts to control my family were having few long-term effects.

The moment I stopped telling the boys not to watch TV, they started watching TV. I’d resolved not to problem solve, but I still felt compelled to try and get to the bottom of why she was so angry with everyone. The next day, I went into problem-solving mode again. If I let the boys bend the rules on screentime, junk food, and eating in front of the TV, she could retreat to the quiet of our bedroom until the boys were in bed. And that’s how I found myself on the couch with a burger and cartoons.

The moment I stopped telling them not to yell, they yelled. But I was new to this so, instead of approaching with empathy and recognizing her struggle, I came in hot with questions — the shock troops of solution. But the solution permitting a lack of solutions wasn’t good a solution.

Just as effective communication is almost always found in strong, healthy families, poor communication is usually found in unhealthy family relationships.

Marriage and family therapists often report that poor communication is a common complaint of families who are having difficulties. It can lead to numerous family problems, including excessive family conflict, ineffective problem solving, lack of intimacy, and weak emotional bonding.

I hadn’t been solving these problems; I’d been exerting control. At first, I felt a sense of relief in not putting myself on the hook to make my family’s problems disappear. But, to my surprise, most problems were pretty minor and solutions were easily found. I didn’t know it at the time, but a combination of bad family news and health issues were wearing her thin. My wife still wasn’t being heard and the rest of us were indulging in crappy habits as a coping mechanism. We’d just delayed the real need: open communication.

I’m not the only guy who instinctually tries to control people and situations. We often work to find solutions rather than offering support, love, listening, and communication. I’d come into the week thinking that all of my family’s so-called problems were basically the same problem: Someone was doing something wrong. But none of those things would have helped, because none of them would have actually solved the problem.

Family communication refers to the way verbal and non-verbal information is exchanged between family members (Epstein, Bishop, Ryan, Miller, & Keitner, (1993).

Communication involves the ability to pay attention to what others are thinking and feeling.


Comments Family Problem Solving

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