Improving Family Dynamics And Communication
Updated August 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault
In order to improve the family dynamics in your life, you must first understand the family dynamics definition. These are described as the interactions among family members. Each family is unique in its own way and has varying degrees of family dynamics, but there are some that are common among many families.
In the world of dynamics, all families have some helpful and some unhelpful family dynamics. Some things that affect these dynamics are family hierarchy, decision-making and problem solving. Depending on how your family handles these things, there are many things you can do to improve upon the dynamics.
It's Never Too Late To Make A Change
When your family dynamics are poor, this can cause you to feel helpless and alone. This may not have been the vision that you had for your family when you started it, and the feelings of regret may overtake you. Don't let this discourage you from making a change.
No matter how far gone you feel you and your family members are, there is always a chance to rebuild your relationships as long as everyone is receptive and willing to work together. This must be something that everyone has agreed to in order to make this work.
Making the decision to work toward a better future together is undoubtedly the first step that anyone should take when attempting to improve your family's dynamic.
Build A Genogram
In order for you to diagnose and solve the issues that you are having, you first want to have a full understanding of the relationships within your family unit and how they work.
A genogram is a visual representation of a family tree that also includes more detailed information concerning the relationships that a person has with their family members. For example, you could draw a dotted line between two family members that have a close relationship or a solid line between members that have a strained one.
This has been found to be immensely helpful to many families who work to improve their dynamic because it provides a clear starting point. If you see multiple strained relationships with one member of the family, you could work in that area more often and with more energy than another.
Moreover, if you have a particular member of the family that is generally agreeable and has a decent relationship with everyone, a genogram will help you to avoid placing too much attention on that person, or the place them on the back burner, so to speak.
Improving the relationships you have with one another is the first and foremost thing you can do to improve your dynamic. If you aren't able to get along or get on the same page, the necessary next steps you will need to take will be difficult if not impossible.
Realize The Importance Of Communication
Many families struggle with improving their dynamic because the role communication plays in their families is not up to par with what it needs to be in order to facilitate real change.
If this sounds like your family, the goods news, the fix is easy! Even though it might feel awkward or out of place at first, opening a line of communication that everyone in the family can use will be an invaluable tool in your journey to improve your family's dynamic. You might stumble and fall at first, but with some tact and perseverance, everyone will be engaging in effective communication before you know it.
If you are struggling to get everyone to open up and talk to each other, facilitating the help of a licensed counselor or therapist may be the answer for you. There are many techniques and different homework assignments that can be utilized with the help of a professional that will really boost your efforts.
Understand That The Goal Is Not Perfection
In the realm of families, perfection is not something that is existent. Even the most open family with the closest connections will still have their fair share of arguments and disagreements. There may also be some members of the family that never fully come around and join the new dynamic due to grudges that are not easily understood.
The goal is not perfection when looking at your family dynamic. Since we know there will be instances where we aren't always getting along, the true thing to strive for is making sure in the end that the issues work out for everyone.
This is why it is so important to communicate with each other in an honest and open way. If you or another family member is not bringing their issues to the table, they surely cannot be handled.
Spend Extra Time Together
While you are working to improve the family dynamic, remember that you will need to give extra special attention and care to everything that you do. This includes how often and how you choose to spend time with your family.
To begin, you can make it a point to share a family dinner together at least two or three times a week. It doesn't matter if this is home cooked, store bought or at a restaurant. The important thing is that you are utilizing the time to zero in on your family and to focus on talking about your day or other things going on in life at that moment.
If you already eat dinner as a unit or don't feel that it would work for your family, you can set time aside in other ways as well. A family game night or movie night would also be good examples of things you can try. The goal is to build new relationship and to foster new positive memories for everyone.
This will serve as a new foundation on which you can build stronger and more long lasting relationships with those whom you have been strained with in the past. It will also remind everyone what it means to be a family. Many of us have a longing to be involved and a part of a family. All we have to do is dig deep and grab it.
Bury The Hatchet
Many adults who foster strained family dynamics do so because they are holding a grudge or are unable to let go of the hurt or angry feelings they have towards a family member.
Depending on the situation, it can be very difficult to let go of these kinds of things, but it must be done if you hope to have improved relations with your family. Additionally, you owe it to yourself to let go of the negative energy you have inside so that you can live a happy and free life.
If stronger family relationships and reduced friction is truly something that you want for your future, you must learn to let go. The people in your family will hurt or disappoint you from time to time. This is a normal and unfortunate part of life. The important thing is that you learn to forgive and make it a point not to hold the incident against your family member in the future.
If the transgression against you truly was too much to bear and you feel your life is better off without this particular family member in it, it is also acceptable for you to cut ties with this family member. In some cases, keeping someone in your life simply because they are family can do much more to hurt your dynamic than it does to help.
When you have to avoid a part of the family unit, it definitely makes things a little more difficult to resolve, but it can be done. Make sure that your other family members are aware that you don't intend on improving the bonds with this person. This way, you won't feel pressured or placed into an uncomfortable position in the future.
Take A Family Vacation
With all the hustle and bustle of our every day lives, it can be easy to get stuck in the shuffle of work/school, eat, sleep, repeat. This can cause us to feel worn down and tired, which makes it difficult to get into the emotional headspace it requires to work on your family from the inside out.
If this sounds familiar, taking a family vacation could be the perfect remedy for you and your family. You could get everyone together to discuss where they would like to go, or you could plan a fun, relaxing trip that includes activities that everyone will enjoy.
Depending on your financial situation, this can be grand and exotic, or it could be as simple as booking a hotel in the next town over. The important thing is that your vacation offers a change in pace and scenery so that your family can take time to recharge and enjoy the day, rather than dragging through it.
No matter how you do it, the relaxation will rejuvenate the entire family and allow everyone to return feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the next obstacle.