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I usually write my articles in the morning, when my daughters are at school, so I can follow my thoughts in the silence of my study. This time, I'm writing during the quarantine due to Covid19 and the situation is definitely atypical. People like me, with very young children can struggle to find some time to be alone. Each member of the family can find difficult to have some time by himself, enjoying his own space, or to find an efficient way to satisfy everyone's needs, in a moment when we spend much more time together under the same roof, than usual. This situation can be complicated and frustrating.

So I started thinking about a theme, which I love very much, namely communication within family, as a fundamental resource for the entire family, from babies to teenagers and parents, to realize strategies to satisfy everybody's needs through an empathic, calm, positive path. I think that this moment can be an opportunity to plant the seeds of an efficient communication, which can bloom and give fruits more and more, after the isolation.

Let's start from the roots: human beings are naturally social animals, and human beings cannot avoid to communicate (even when they think they aren't cammunicating at all). These are basic aspects of human nature, therefore we are naturally lead to live in societies (and family is the first fundamental kind of society) and as evoluted, from the cognitive point of view, creatures, we naturally communicate.

Since we are talking about two basic features of the human being, I think its worthy to take care and benefit from it. There no best time to do that! It doesn't matter how old we are! The right time is always and it's now!

The main way that a child, even a baby, has to learn is by imitation. So, if as parents, we are the first to provide a good example of a calm, empathic communication, our baby will have some solid base to refer to.

And what happens when our children grow up? It's not a mistery that there might be challenging moments in our daily parenting life. But the point is not, being calm and not to shout at any cost. The point is that it's important to legitimate all emotions, because there are no wrong emotions, but only true emotions, and all of them are worthy to be expressed.

Another useful point of view can be to communicate in term of feelings and needs, instead of judgments, as Non Violent Communication teaches us. This approach will make us concentrate on what is really triggering us, on which feeling is arising, on which of our needs is hungry, even with babies and children. And when these aspects are all clear and expressed we will be able to state a clear request or strategy to solve the problem together.

Especially with children, the communication through judgements is not only aggressive, but it doesn't give any clue to the child of what he's doing wrong and of what he could do to improve himself. For instance, if I shout : “Enough! Stop with tantrums! Just behave youself!”, when we feel angry because, it's time to leave the house to go to school and to work, and it's late, and our child refuses to get dressed and starts crying, it's pointless, because it doesn't help the child to see what he's doing wrong.

Instead, we could observe the facts which trigger us (when you say that you don't want to get dressed and you start crying), the feelings arising (I feel nervous, worried, frustrated), the unsatisfied needs (because I need cooperation, peace, to be sure of…). If we have clear in mind all these passages, we will be able to make a clear request to our child, and we'll try to solve this situation together. In this way, our children no matter how young they are, are directly involved in decision making within their family, while we can understand which difficulties they are meeting, because surely a child reacting this way, when it's time to go out, must have some reasons.

This communication approach is perfect for everyone, even if it might be a bit complicated at the beginning, because, for generations, for centuries, we've been used to an aggressive commuunication, where the right is on the strongest side. But this approach has extraordinary long term results and the entire family can benefit from it. Even the couple. Of course it doesn't mean it's the end of arguments and quarrels, but even having an argument follows a path that leads to efficient communication and to resolution of the conflict, and to find a common solution, instead of judgement and regret. In this way everybody's feelings are welcome and everybody's needs can be satisfied thanks to a common strategy.

This empathic communication is extraordinary also with teenagers. Teenage is a unique moment in the life of a human being. During teenage we re biologically concerned with social interaction and in building human relations and everything else becomes less important (to tidy up, doing homework, and so on). It's not about being careless, or selfish, or being a rebel. It's simply what we naturally and biologically are as human beings. This is important just like remembering that children tantrums don't exist, because our perception of events shifts, and we are more open to a dialogue. Moreover, expressing in terms of feelings and needs, gives our teenagers children some useful tools to better understand what they are living and makes them understand that we, their parents, are there for them.

In this quarantine time, we have time. Time to discover us as a family. Time to immerge ourself in the marvel of what resources our family is builiding. Starting to communicate in an empathic way can support us to better live this moment and to give us solid trustful basis, for the future of our family and society.