Communication is the key to both a healthy family life as well as an integral part of forming and maintaining relationships outside of the home. If you can't express yourself to those around you, you will end up stunting the growth of your relationships and harming your connections with loved ones. If you help communication by teaching communication techniques and tactics at home, these positive habits will extend to all of the relationships your family forms outside the home as well.

Tack and Talk At Home

Communication is the solid foundation of a happy interpersonal relationship. Be expressive with your thoughts and feelings, most especially to members of your family. Listen to them when it is their turn to speak. Allow them to share their opinions on various issues, particularly when you are discussing family matters.

To keep a constant flow of two-way communication, try putting up a memo board for members of your family. Place the memo board in the kitchen, family room or wherever family members spend most of their time in the house. You can post anything at the memo board: reminders, plans for the weekend or just thoughtful notes. Doing this makes up for the days when you are too busy to spend quality time with them.

Leave notes on the memo board to inform your family if you will be out for the evening or just at the neighbor’s. Sprinkle your board with words of love and encouragement. You will be happy to come home and see the messages everyone has left for everybody.

Use the memo board to express your support and pride in a family member's accomplishments. Post announcements such as an upcoming neighborhood flea market on Sunday, family get-together or a school program.

Even if some family members aren't around for the weekend, the messages they tacked on the memo board will make you feel as if they are there. Having a memo board and communicating through there also teaches family members, especially children, to be open with their emotions instead of being ashamed of expressing their love.

A memo board in your home can also serve as the bridge between two family members. After fights or arguments, the memo board could serve as their means of communication until they are comfortable once again to talk to one another. Cherishing family memories becomes sweeter and more meaningful with a memo board -- a board that at times can do the talking for you if you are embarrassed to speak personally.

When to Say Nothing at All

The mouth is a powerful part of us. Our mouths and tongues can say the nicest things about people yet curse them in the same breath. There is an old saying that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”. We teach this saying to our children so that they learn how to shake off insults. But make no mistake about it: Unkind words and insults can deeply hurt a person and if you do not have something nice to say about a person then it is best not to say anything at all.

It is important to remember that unkind words and insults that you throw at a person cannot be easily taken back. Understand that usually when this happens that trust has just been broken. That person you insulted will not trust you for a long time, if not ever again. Any relationship you have built with this person is damaged and usually damaged permanently as the target of your insults will always echo your words in the back of his or her mind.

We all need to be aware of certain conditions where we personally have a tendency to run our mouths in an offensive way. For example, some folks tend to be very cranky when they have not had much sleep. These same people will throw insults at some of their closest friends and loved ones during the period of sleep deprivation. If you find that you are one of those people then make sure you get some sleep before you do much talking.

So the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret, keep your mouth shut. Remember that apologies help somewhat but they do not erase the "tape" in a person’s mind that will be playing for a long time if not for the rest of his or her life.

Saying the Magic Words

People have different personalities but sometimes, we have similar behaviors or reactions to certain things in life. One of those is our hesitation to say the magic words like "sorry", "thank you", and "I love you." It seems that we hold these words back because they represent our emotions and tenderness towards someone. Maybe this is also why there are hundreds of rules in dating. Some people even wait for the fifth date before exchanging "I love yous." On the other hand, this repression can be a result of a person’s bad relationships in the past, which is perfectly normal to shield himself or herself from being hurt again.

Adolescence is another reason we suppress being verbal of our feelings. We don’t want to be labeled as "mushy" or "a softie." We want to appear cool to our peers and trying to achieve this status changes us to cold, distant people. Then again, it’s ironic that we are generous in saying these words to strangers. We liberally say "thank you" to those who give us their seat on the bus or help us with our baggage. In our homes, though, we don’t acknowledge our siblings when they help us with the dishes or when they comfort us when we are sad. We are not hesitant to say "sorry" when we step on someone’s foot or went in late at a meeting. In our homes, though, we merely let the heat cool off after a fight without exchanging words. Our pets get more "I love yous" than our parents.

We shouldn’t be afraid to show kindness and love to people who are important to us. Life is too short to be saving these words only for special occasions. Don’t wait for your family members to get sick before they hear you say that you love them. Make the first step and remind them that you are a family.

So remember: if you have something good to say, by all means, say it! Your words can make a positive impact in the lives of those around you and show loved ones how much you care about them. Conversely, if you are tempted to speak negatively to a person, be sure to keep their feelings in check. Express yourself, but be sure to do so in a constructive way to help communication.

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