Talk It Out

A new article was published today about research on families and communication. In a nutshell, it emphasizes how helpful it can be for  kids to talk their problems out, and how parents benefit from seeing such interactions.

“When children fight with their siblings, they learn important lessons, such as how to settle, negotiate, and compromise. They begin to see conflict as a problem they can solve…how to see a problem from a sibling’s perspective, how to identify and talk about a wide range of emotions, how to calm themselves when they’re experiencing intense feelings, and how to manage conflicts.”

Kids are helped by communicating feelings in ways that help instead of hurt. It’s just a matter of putting effective techniques into practice. Whether it’s anger, hurt, fear, sadness, or guilt, feelings want to come out. Feelings held inside often result in withdrawal, anxiety, low self-esteem and a whole rash of psychosomatic problems such as headaches, tummy aches, and difficulty sleeping. Feelings that are expressed in hurtful ways— put-downs, meltdowns, or acting out—create a whole host of other kinds of problems for kids.

Since sibling relationships are one of the most important templates for how kids get along with peers, we urge parents to teach social skills to kids and encourage healthy sibling relationships. Think of life inside the family as a laboratory for learning how to get along with others.

Both kids and adults alike report greater life satisfaction and fewer physical symptoms on the exact days when they feel more understood by others in verbal interactions. Neuroscientists explain that when people feel heard and understood, their emotional brains settle down in a way that’s almost miraculous… similar to a car on the freeway that ‘s stuck in second gear and then suddenly shifts into fifth… Ahhhhh…

One of the most effective and easy communication tools that we teach parents and kids is called “The Repair Kit.” It provides a path toward understanding, forgiveness, conflict resolution, and bringing out the best in one another. Once acquired, this method can be used as frequently as needed to help things run more smoothly.

The repair kit can be used with kids as young as five or six years old, and kids of all ages learn the benefit of this process by listening to the Happy Kids Song, “Talk It Out.”

You and your partner may need some couple’s tune-ups with this process first. Don’t be embarrassed! That’s often the case, and you can use the exact same model. Thousands of couples have benefited from this practice.

Healthy communication is essential. In happy, loving families, family members take time to check in and talk and listen to one another. They know how to repair hurt feelings instead of withdrawing or becoming hurtful to each other. As hard as connecting can be in the hurried pace of our day-to-day lives, quality communication is more important than ever. It’s best to teach these skills when children are young, leaving plenty of opportunity for practice and use over the course of a lifetime. What a different world we’d live in if everyone learned how to communicate better.






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