Assertive Communication with Your Family

June 6, 2019
In this article, learn all about assertive communication with your family.

Communication is the foundation for a good relationship with your family. But, how can you get your family to listen to you? It’s easier than you may think! Establishing assertive communication with your family is more than possible.

Assertive communication within your family means expressing opinions in a conscious, clear, direct, and balanced way. Its purpose is to communicate your ideas and feelings without hurting or harming others.

It’s essential to communicate assertively with your family in order to strengthen your relationships. Good communication reflects healthy bonds, mutual respect, love, affection, and companionship.

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you aren’t saying ‘no’ to yourself.”

-Paulo Coelho-

Assertive Communication with Your Family is Healthy

Have you ever been in a situation in which you should’ve said something but you didn’t? Perhaps you were just being passive. On the contrary, have you ever said something and felt bad afterward because you just acted like a jerk? Did you feel that others couldn’t say what they really thought about your attitude? In that case, you might’ve been aggressive.

A family in the countryside blowing bubbles.

There are three main communication styles:

  • Passive communication is when one of the members doesn’t expose their concerns, speaks in a low tone of voice, or accepts things without truly understanding what’s being asked of them. This passive form leads to an unequal relationship. It leads to low self-esteem and doesn’t promote healthy affective bonds.
  • The second style of communication, aggressive, is characterized by confusing messages, shouting, scolding, and even insults. Similarly, this type of communication promotes emotional distance from other family members, as it generates rejection, fear, and resentment. In addition, it’s a form of emotional violence.
  • Finally, the assertive form is the most recommended, as it implies respect, dialogue, and negotiation. It also strengthens family bonds in a context of respect and trust and promotes healthy self-esteem in children.

Benefits of Assertive Communication with Your Family

Developing assertive communication will have a positive effect on your emotional and mental health. Also, it’ll allow you to see reality more clearly and establish solid relationships with family members.

Here are some of its benefits:

  • Leads to less stress.
  • Improves your social and personal skills.
  • Helps you better control your emotions so you don’t act out of rage.
  • This communication helps improve your self-esteem.
  • It helps you understand your emotions better.
  • It leads to self-respect and also helps you earn other people’s respect.
  • You’ll gain personal satisfaction.
  • It’ll improve your decision-making skills.

Communicating with Your Family

Some of the keys to fostering assertive communication with your family are:

1. Make no comparisons

Parents often compare their children to others to point out their mistakes or shortcomings or to manipulate them in some other way. For example, “Johnny, you didn’t finish your peas. You should be more like Mary, who ate all the food on her plate.”

This generates insecurity and feelings of inferiority, resentment, and unhealthy competitiveness.  In addition, there’s always the danger that a person who’s often compared to others will end up believing these comparisons and will always compare themselves to others.

If you don’t instill self-confidence in your children, they won’t be able to communicate assertively.

Each child, each person, is unique. Thus, comparisons are unfair. Every person acts under specific circumstances.

2. Be empathetic

Assertive communication starts with respect toward others. Before addressing your children, take some time to think about what you’re going to tell them and how you’re going to do it, especially when the message you want to convey is important and you want it to stick in their mind.

You must also instill empathy toward others. If all the family members seek to understand how they all think and feel, it’ll be easier to engage in healthy dialogue.

A woman consoling a girl.

3. Ask for an opinion

An authoritarian upbringing limits assertive communication because the parents are in charge and the children only obey. Not allowing children to express themselves when it comes to decisions that affect them or the family as a whole is a way of telling them their opinion doesn’t matter.

Let your children participate and have a voice. This way, they’ll develop their self-confidence and know that their point of view is important to you.

4. Express yourself

You can’t expect your children to express their feelings and thoughts if you don’t. Tell them about your day, your concerns, and your interests. Similarly, pay attention and listen carefully when they have something to tell you.

If you think they’re wrong, then give them advice instead of judging and scolding them. Never punish them for telling you the truth or for being honest. You want your children to trust and share their concerns with you.

Of course, being understanding doesn’t mean you should stop correcting them. In this regard, don’t forget that doing so helps them learn from their mistakes so they don’t repeat them again.

Remember that many lessons are learned through good role models. Be the first to instill an assertive communication style so everyone in your family learns by example.