Assertive communication in the family

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Joe Dispenza

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Assertive communication in the family

Having assertive communication in the family means expressing one's opinion in a conscious, coherent, clear, direct and balanced way.

Last update: July 09, 2022

Communication is the foundation of a good relationship with our children, but how can we get them to listen to us? Sounds difficult, right? However, it's easier than you might think. Establishing assertive communication in the family is possible.

Having assertive communication in the family means expressing one's opinion in a conscious, coherent, clear, direct and balanced way. The purpose is to express ideas and feelings without fear of hurting or offending other members. It is a communication based on mutual trust.

It is important to have assertive communication in the family, as it allows to strengthen the relationships between its members. With good dialogue, healthy bonds are established, mutual respect, affection and a sense of belonging are created. This is true both in relationships between parents and in relationships with children or between siblings.

"When you say yes to other people, make sure you don't say no to yourself."

-Paulo Cohelo-

Assertive communication in the family is the healthiest way to communicate

Have you ever thought about that time when you wanted to say something and then preferred to keep quiet? Perhaps, in this case, yours was too passive. Have you ever said something and then regretted it because you felt like a dictator? Have you ever felt that others could not express their thoughts because of your attitude? Perhaps in these cases you have been too aggressive.

There are three main forms of communication:

  • The passive form. Usually one of the members does not express their concerns, speaks in a low voice and accepts without understanding what is asked of them. This type of communication creates inequalities that put a family member at a disadvantage. Feelings of low self-esteem can arise and healthy emotional bonds are not established.
  • Aggressive form or style of communication. These are confusing messages communicated through yelling, scolding and even insults. This type of communication emotionally separates family members because it generates rejection, fear and resentment. It is a form of emotional violence, so it shouldn't be used.
  • Assertive communication. It is the best form of communication because it is based on respect, dialogue and mediation. It allows you to strengthen family relationships by creating a context of trust and respect and promoting healthy self-esteem in children.

"The fundamental difference between being assertive and being aggressive lies in how our words and behavior can affect the rights and well-being of others."

-Sharon Anthony Bower-

The benefits of assertive communication in the family

Developing assertive communication in the family will have positive effects on our emotional and mental health. It will also allow you to see reality more clearly and establish deep relationships with family members. It also favors:

  • Less stress.
  • Improve social and personal skills.
  • Greater control of impulses and anger.
  • Improve self-esteem.
  • Greater understanding of one's emotions.
  • Respect for oneself and respect from others.
  • Improvement of decision-making skills.
  • Increased personal satisfaction.

"The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our life."

-Anthony Robbins-

The problem of listening to answer and not to understand

Some of the tips for enslaved communication in the family are:

1. Avoid comparisons

Sometimes parents compare their children's behavior with that of other children to point out their mistakes. This, more than doing good, generates insecurity and a sense of inferiority. Children may fear being compared with others on those aspects in which they feel inferior.

If children do not have self-confidence, it is unlikely that they will be able to have assertive communication in other areas that concern them.

Every child, like every person, is unique. On the other hand, in general, most comparisons are unfair and not well calibrated. Everyone faces specific situations, and this also applies to children.

2. Be empathetic

Assertive communication is based on respect for others. Before talking to our children, we should take some time to think about what we are going to say and how. This is especially true when the message to be conveyed is important and we want them to understand it.

They must also be taught to empathize with others. If the whole family tries to understand what the other thinks and feels, it will be easier to have a dialogue and the discussions will be based on trust.

"Real communication begins with listening".

-Robert Gately-

3. Ask for their opinion

An authoritarian upbringing limits assertive communication. It happens when parents decide and children just have to obey. Not helping children express themselves on family decisions is a way of telling them that what they think does not matter.

Allowing children to participate in decisions that affect them will allow them to develop greater security. They will also understand that their point of view is important to you and that they can provide arguments for making the best decision.

4. Express yourself using assertive communication

You cannot expect your children to express their feelings if you don't. Share how your day went, your concerns and interests. Likewise, listen carefully when they have something to tell you.

When you feel they are wrong, give them advice instead of scolding them. This way, their confidence will increase and they will be more likely to share their concerns.

Being understanding, however, does not mean giving up punishment when certain limits are exceeded. In these cases, don't forget that you must act so that mistakes are never repeated. Remember that many of the lessons are taught by example. You are your child's role model and you must be the first to use assertive communication so that they can learn and use it.

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