Simple Rules for Healthy Family Communication

Simple Rules for Healthy Family Communication

Are you a family member coping with the hearing loss of an elderly loved one? Do you feel frustrated, ignored, and isolated from your relationship? If so, you may be experiencing communication difficulties. However, these feelings are normal reactions to changing roles in the family. Your loved one needs attention and understanding now more than ever. By following these simple rules for healthy family communication, you can once again find joy in family life.

The 10 Rules

Rule # 1 Don’t Talk When Others Are Talking

Realize that the longer you wait to speak, the more information your loved one has to process while attempting to understand what they are saying. Speak face-to-face when possible and sit close enough for everyone to see each other’s faces. When you’re a family member coping with the hearing loss of a loved one, you may encounter frustration, the feeling of being ignored, and isolation from your relationship. These are all normal reactions to the communication difficulties you are experiencing.

Rule # 2 Leave No Conversation Unfinished

When a topic is dropped mid-sentence, anyone who follows will be confused. Don’t interrupt others while they’re speaking. Wait until they are finished before you speak, or repeat what was said.

Rule # 3 Don’t Ask Questions if You Aren’t Ready for an Answer

This rule is fundamental during emotional times like family gatherings, funerals, and holidays. The ideal time to ask someone about something difficult is when everyone’s emotions are calm.

Rule # 4 Avoid Sarcasm at All Costs

This includes rolling your eyes, sighing, shrugging, or raising your voice for emphasis. These gestures convey impatience and may be misinterpreted as anger even when you do not mean them that way. Be particularly careful with humor because it is easy to misconstrue. If possible, tell the joke without any sarcasm. If you want to be funny, consider adding a self-deprecating statement or put yourself in the punch line of your own joke.

Rule # 5 Don’t Give Unsolicited Advice

This rule is fundamental when dealing with hearing loss or other age-related issues because criticism often hurts our feelings and causes resentment. If the person with hearing loss is doing something that you don’t like, try to let them know kindly and allow them the freedom to make their own decisions.

Rule # 6 Don’t Interrupt People Who Are Speaking or Finish Their Sentences for Them

This discourages conversation because it makes the other person feel ignored and devalued.

Rule # 7 Don’t Spend Quality Time Together in Front of the Television or Computer

This is an easy way to ignore one another and avoid difficult conversations that need to be had. Remember, communication is key in families, just like it is for every relationship!

Rule # 8 Turn Down the Volume on Your Cell Phone, Stay Off Your Cell Phone and Leave Your Cell Phone in the Car

If you can’t be reached via landline, then no one should have to reach you. It is rude to talk on your cell phone during a meal or an event where everyone else is talking. Cell phones are rude because they deprive someone of undivided attention while unnecessarily interrupting others. It is rude to engage in meaningless conversations when the person on the other end of the phone does not know who you are, what your relationship is, or even why they should care about anything you’re saying.

Rule # 9 Never Speak While Eating and Never Eat While Speaking

Good table manners involve making eye contact with everyone at the table and ensuring everyone has food before eating. The person who talks with a mouthful of food will cause the listeners to think that eating is more important than talking.

Rule # 10 Don’t Forget About Your Loved One’s Hearing Loss When You’re in Groups Together

When you are having a conversation, speak face-to-face and in a loud enough voice for everyone to hear. Spread your conversations so they do not overlap, and allow someone to finish speaking before you interrupt them with yours.

I want to thank the readers for their time and attention in reading this article. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends and family to help spread the word.

By Rosa Norris

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