2 Your Health: How to Have Healthy Relationships with Adult Children and Siblings

Dr. Rose Bricker

Just because our children and siblings are now adults, doesn’t mean that our relationships with them are without challenges. The old pattern of communication is often continued throughout our lives, causing feelings of hurt, frustration, anxiety, and even anger. It’s not until we learn new healthy communication skills that the relationships can improve.

Here are some ways to improve your communication skills with your adult children and siblings.

* Express your feelings in an appropriate, honest, and direct way. Always use “I” statements.

* Always avoid accusations and/or attacks. “You” statements cause others to defend themselves and shut down. They can’t hear you if they are not engaged.

* Be specific about what is bothering you. Vague complaints are hard to work on.

* Deal with one issue at a time. Don’t throw all the complaints in at the same time. Nothing will be resolved. It’s extremely important to deal with the issues as they come up. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when too many issues are brought up at one time.

* Don’t generalize. Avoid words like “never” or “always.” Those words only heighten tensions, creating more conflict not less.

* Stick to the facts. Don’t exaggerate a complaint or concern.

* Most importantly try to remain calm. Try not to overreact to difficult situations. If your feelings become overwhelming, “take a time out.” Take a walk, do deep breathing, pet the cat, play with the dog, do the disheswhatever works for you to calm down.

Feelings of hurt, frustration, and anger can cause us to use the old unhealthy ways of communicating, such as yelling/screaming, using threats, or minimizing their point of view or feelings. Old communication behaviors can cause more damage or end the relationship entirely. We want to strengthen the relationship, not destroy it. Relationships are often difficult to navigate.

You can learn and use healthy communication skills to improve your relationships with your adult children and siblings!

If you would like more information on healthy communication and ways to improve your relationships, please call me for a 30-minute complimentary meetandgreet appointment at 520-815-6901. My website is: bluelemonhealthandwellness.com. I’m located at Blue Lemon Therapy and Coaching, LLC, 10132 N. Oracle Road, Suite 160, Oro Valley, AZ 85704 (in the business park behind the Fairfield Inn in Oro Valley).