Communication Blockers (part 1)
For many, the summer is a down time for the family because the kids are not in school there is extra time to do some fun family activities. With the start of the school year, for some even this week, the family day to day activities begin in full swing. Even if your children are not yet in school many churches kick off all of the fall events and small groups as well. All this to say we are no longer in relaxed mode and for many the busy season begins. It is so easy to look back during the holiday season and think, “wow where did the fall go?!”
This time of crazy schedules can really be a communication blocker if we allow it to be. We must carve out time for family to be together and be intentional to take full advantage of those small moments we have previously discussed. Sit down with your spouse and schedule in family nights if you have to. Look for times daily to communicate with your kids. Be Intentional!
We need to make each day count and not just live for the weekend or those vacation days. So often it is easy to pass the time or just attempt to relax in front of the TV. But this is another thing that can become a communication blocker if we don’t set up boundaries around it.
Like we have stated in the past it can be a fun family night to pop popcorn and have a movie night. We cannot however depend on the television to be our only source of family entertainment. The family obviously won’t be communicating if they are all zoned out in front of the TV. Have a family game night when every one is done with their homework or think of another fun activity where the family can interact.
Another place the TV should not be allowed is the dinner table. Dinner can be a great segue from the craziness of everyone’s day into the relaxation of the evening. But if the TV is on, even in the background, it will distract from everyone being able to talk about their day.
Another blocker for teaching communication, ironically, can be technology. One of the things that technology is supposed to do is make it easier for everyone to communicate. In fact through things like facebook and twitter we can be updated on even the small details of what is going on in each other’s lives. Through texting we can discreetly communicate small snippets of information. Even email has replaced most interoffice communication and the need for buying stamps. But with the need for instant communication we may be loosing the personal touch which comes with face to face communication. There was a time when you wouldn’t think of telling something important over the phone because it was too impersonal. Now we blast our important announcements over the social networks and twitter.
We need to be careful through all of this that our children don’t miss out on being taught how to communicate properly. If the only way they are learning to communicate is through text and tweets, they are seriously missing out. You cannot have a deeply heartfelt conversation about emotions through this venue. That training takes lots of time given by mom and dad. Make sure there are times of your day where there are “no cell phones allowed”, so your family can communicate to each other with some good old fashioned talking!
There is another area that can become a blocker for teaching positive communication and that can be a child’s peers. Peers can be a positive practicing tool for communication, but if peers are the only place our children are learning how to communicate it can be detrimental. If we as a family are not placing an emphasis on communication then our kids will have to learn somewhere. Peers can also end up being a listening substitute for your child. This means that if your child doesn’t feel listened to at home they will search for a place where they feel that accepted. One of the ways we can make our child feel valued and accepted at home is simply by listening to them.
A second way that peers can be a blocker for positive communication is if they are a negative influence on your child. Issues with attitude and negativity can rub off on our children if we are not careful. As parents we need to take the time to get to know the people who can also have a big influence on our children, their friends.