Sometimes there are misunderstandings
and sometimes we feel no one is listening to us. It can be quite difficult to get your point across, or to understand the actions and reactions of others. So there is always room for learning something more about communication.
Although personality type and gender have a strong influence on how we communicate, parents can model good communication techniques that their children will pick up on. When my youngest was 3 he still didn't talk much and we were worried. Before going the route of testing I decided to work on his vocabulary by labeling my feelings; "Mommy can't do that because Mommy's tired right now", or "Mommy's so happy that you tidied up your toys all by yourself", you get the point. I also went on to label the feelings of other family members as well, when it was meaningful or had relevance. Within a month my son was speaking in complete sentences.
Why did this work? Feelings can be very scary to young children, especially if they are the strong willed or passionate type. So identifying the feelings that we all experience made them less scary and more acceptable, helping him feel more secure. This gave him a better understanding of how to get what he needed and respect others at the same time.
Being the 3rd child and 4 to 6 years younger than the others, he was used to everyone responding to his needs without needing to communicate much. He was and still is the type of person who watches and then acts, not naturally inclined to verbalize much. However, by modeling communication for him, he was able to gain the confidence to express himself more verbally.
This was only one technique that helped a lot, but there are many communication tools that we can easily use in our daily lives to better understand each other. Learning to communicate well with my children also helped my marriage. Most of these techniques can be applied to many different relationships with beneficial effects. So here's a list of websites & books to look into for better family communication.
Essential methods for healthy communication:
Labeling (acknowledging) Feelings
Listening for the underlying message
Restating what you hear
Leaving out blame, shame & labels
How to Talk So Your Kid's Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
Adel Faber & Elaine Mazlish
Siblings Without Rivalry
How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen: From Toddlers to Teenagers
H. Norman Wright & Gary J. Oliver
For Your Kids to Read:
Posts About Communication:
Say What You Mean- Mean What You Say
Why Does This Always Happen At the Wrong Time?