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February brings us Valentine’s Day. That makes it a prefect time to work on developing a loving relationship with our children.  Learning to communicate with each other will strengthen family relationships especially during the teenage years.

Not only is communication important for families, it should be the foundation.  Good family communication helps develop trust and builds respect between mevalentinembers of the family.  It will make it easier to solve conflicts and face the many challenges thrown at today’s families.  By teaching your children good communication techniques today they will have the lifetime tools needed to communicate with others outside the home.

Talking is not always the best communication.  In fact, best communicator is often times not the speaker, but the best listener.  We need to listen with both ears, with eye contact and with our full attention.

As a parent educator, I often hear parents moan, “Why won’t my child talk to me? But I also hear the other side from the children asking, “Why won’t my parents listen to me?”     So what can we do to communicate better?  Take time to discover your children.  A very important way to build a relationship is to ask questions about their activities, feelings and interests. Try to understand their point of view.  Remember what it was like at their age.  Let them know you care about their feelings even if they are different than yours.  Sounds easy?  You say you already do that.  Do you really take the time to sit down next to them, with eyes and ears opened  and interrupted by the television, computers or cell phones?  Here are some things that can enhance family communication:

  • Send clear and encouraging messages.
  • Watch our tone of voice and body language. It sets the mood for conversation.
  • Let them know you are listening. Look at your child’s face.
  • Don’t make it about you. Stay with the child’s ideas. A young child’s story may go on and on and get twisted up. But stay with them, they will learn though you to get better at expressing their feelings and ideas.

Communication is the bridge between you and your children.  It is a way for you to share love and teach appropriate behavior.  To honor St Valentine make some hearts from red paper or pink paper and write positive sayings such as:  wow, outstanding, way to go, terrific, much better, very nice, etc.  Pass then to each other.  Every time you give a love message you have made a change.  You will be glad you took the time.

Written by: Kathy Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, green.1405@osu.edu

Reviewed by:

References:

Bornstein, M. H., editor, 1995. Handbook of parenting: volume 1, children and parenting. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Gottman, J., and J. DeClaire. 1997. The heart of parenting. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Klauser, H. A. 1995. Put your heart on paper. New York: Bantam.

 

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We are at a point in our life where all our children are adults and moving out on their own. As they leave my home, one hope is that they appreciated the importance of family meals. Family meals go beyond the food that is prepared and consumed.  A great fact sheet from University of Flopink reciperida Extension used the letters in the word RECIPE to breakdown the importance of effective communication that family meals can provide.  Communicating with everyone in the family about healthy eating and the importance of physical activity is a great idea!  As attention increases over childhood weight issues and obesity, these discussions gain more significance.

The article breaks down each letter in the word RECIPE.  Each letter and an accompanying description follow:

– Reflective Listening

E – Encouragementrecipe

– Compromise and Cooperation

– “I”-messages

P – Practice

E – Engagement

The “R” is for Reflective listening, the vital skill of actively listening to those who are speaking.  Someone who is actively listening may ask questions, restate what was said, and understand or put themselves in other person’s shoes.  To a child’s statement of “I don’t want to eat that” a reflective listener might respond with a statement such as, “Sometimes it is hard to try new things”.

Encouragement, “E”, is appreciating what another has to say.  These responses may praise one another and offer supportive.  Encouragement helps keep the lines of communication open.

“C” doubly represents Compromise and Cooperation which allow family members to find solutions to conflict and disagreements.  When parents role model and encourage, “compromise and cooperation” conversations will likely lead to solutions that can be agreed upon by all.

“I” Messages are a s
pecific way of telling others how one feels.  An “I” message communicates to another how his or her behavior causes you to think or feel.  An example of an “I” message would be “I feel badly when I cook a big meal and no one is home to eat it” as opposed to a “You” statement such as “I don’t like what you have made for dinner.  I’ll make something myself.”

Practice is for “P” the fifth letter in the RECIPE communication acronym.  Practice is needed for any new skill to become a habit.  Practice requires patience and effort.

The “E” in RECIPE stands for Engagement.  This is defined as the level of involvement of each family member in the communication process.  This requires giving others your full attention.

Once all the letters of the RECIPE communication technique are blended together effective communication can start to take place.  This requires time and patience but can lead to better health and wellness for everyone in the family.

Author: Liz Smith, M.S., RDN, L.D. Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences.

Reviewed by:  Cheryl Barber Spires, RD, LD, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences.

Source: Family Nutrition: A RECIPE for Good Communication.  Retrieved from: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1060.

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Communication is a very important tool that we need to keep in our box. Not only do the communication principles apply to work, friendships and family but it is also highly relevant in relationships with our partners. Open, honest communication is vital to planting your relationship and watching it grow. conversation

Try these tips for being a successful communicator in your relationship:

1. Talk face to face. In this day and age the most common form of talking is with a cellphone in hand or by posting a status update. People are more likely to open up when they feel as if they’re the center of attention. Be personal and be present.

2. Be aware of your body language. Make eye contact and have good posture. This allows your partner to know that you are listening and that they have your full attention. Process what they are saying and then respond.

3. Timing is important. If something is on your mind, carefully choose the time to bring up the matter. Tell your partner that you would like to discuss something and then find time when you’re in the same room without any distractions.

4. Don’t attack your partner and try to avoid using harsh language. Using the word “you” can make your partner feel like they’re being blamed causing them to feel defensive. Using words like “I” and “we” are better alternatives. For example consider saying “I’ve been feeling very distant from you”, instead of “You haven’t been giving me very much attention”.

5. Use the 48-hour rule. If your partner does something that makes you upset then you need to talk about it. But remember, timing is everything. If you’re still angry 48 hours later – bring it up to them. If not then it’s probably best to let it go. Remember that your partner can’t read your mind. If they don’t know about the problem then they can’t respond and apologize.

Communication isn’t always easy. Like anything else, it takes practice. Using these tips can help you be a successful communicator and have a healthy relationship.

coffee talk

Source:
http://www.loveisrespect.org/healthy-relationships/communicate-better/

Written by: Mallorie Wippel, Agriculture Intern Student, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA.

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

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To some it may seem old fashioned, or a thing of the past, but family meals are a proven way to help strengthen families. Years of research has found that the more children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they were to smoke, drink or use drugs. Why? Eating dinner together has a positive effect on social development, family communication, nutritional intake and the development of the family structure.  The conversations that go hand-in-hand with dinner help parents learn more about their children’s lives and help them better understand the challenges their kids face each day.

The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in a research survey of teens and parents found that,  compared to teens who have five to seven family dinners a week, those who dine with their families fewer than three nights are:

  1. Three and a half times likelier to have abused prescriptions drugs
  2. Three times likelier to have tried marijuana
  3. More than two and a half times likelier to have tried cigarettes
  4. One and a half times likelier to have tried alcohol

CASA research shows teens are at a greater risk of substance abuse as they move from middle school to high school. It is especially important for parents to stay involved during this time.  Dinner is one way to make this happen.  It is never too early or too late to start the tradition of regular family dinners with your children.

Besides getting to know your children/teens better, there are other advantages to having frequent family dinners. When children and teens eat at a family table they:

  • Have healthier eating habits
  • Have lower levels of tension and stress at homefamily meal
  • Are more likely to say their parents are proud of them
  • Are likelier to say they confide in their parents
  • Are likelier to make better grades in school
  • Are more emotionally content and have positive relationships
  • Are at lower risk for thought of suicide

As a parent of five children, I know all too well, the battles of balancing work and family to get the meal on the table with the majority of the children each night, but with some planning, you can outwit common family mealtime obstacles and use dinner as a forum to strengthen family ties.   Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Set the mood.  Try eating at a clutter-free table without the television in the background, and no handheld devices.
  • Divide and conquer.  Let everyone help.  Many busy hands make the job easier.
  • Plan ahead.  Be sure all family members know what you expect, when to have their hands washed and their appetites ready.  Dinner does not have to be at the same time every night but let family know in advance.  Posting the menu on the refrigerator is a good idea.  Let the children choose what foods they would like to eat.
  • Cook up the conversation.  Save unpleasant topics for another time.  Be a good listener.  Practice reflective listening and use “I” messages.
  • “May I be excused?”  Clearly define the end of the meal.  Relax, and enjoy the meal together.

Remember that families do not change overnight.  Make small changes each day or week.  Time flies by so quickly in this fast-moving world, but remember that what your kids really want at the dinner table is YOU!

Sources:

Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (2001), May 9, 2001. http://www.casacolumbia.org/index/htm.

Compan, E., Moreno, J., Ruiz, M.T., & Pascual, E. (2002). Doing things together: Adolescent health and family rituals. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health,  56: 89-94.

Ohio State University Extension, Ohioline, Factsheet FLM-FS-4-03. http:/ohioline.osu.edu.

Written by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

Reviewed by: Kristen Corry, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Noble & Monroe Counties

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