How to Solve Communication Problems

Keeping Your Business and Personal Finances SeparateThey can happen to anyone, but unfortunately, husbands and fathers face them most often: communication problems. Whether due to a disagreement with the wife or due to a bad attitude from the kids, communication problems can cause arguments, resentment, misunderstandings and more. In addition, the longer communication problems go unchecked, often, the worse they become. If you’re facing communication problems in your life, even if they aren’t coming from you, here are some tips to get these problems solved and get back to a healthy relationship:

1.) Communication Isn’t All Verbal

It’s a fact: men tend to communicate more verbally, while women tend to communicate more non-verbally. Additionally, most men would rather communicate directly; they mean what they say and they say what they mean. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to hint around their meanings rather than coming right out and being blunt. This is not to say that either approach is incorrect, but it is to say that men and women communicate differently.

As such, try to be aware of the actual meanings behind the words your wife offers. For instance, if you’re out driving and your wife wants to stop at a particular store, she may exclaim, “Oh, look, there’s XYZ. I love that store.” While this may seem like a mere statement, it may be her way of telling you, “I want to stop there.” Due to this difference in communication, it’s a good idea to engage the subject further to garner the real meaning.

2.) Listen!

One of the absolute most important elements of communication is listening, yet it’s one of the least practiced. When communicating, everyone wants their voice to be heard, but all too often, they’re too busy trying to think of a response to get their point across. The next time you get into a debate or an argument, try listening more than talking. This will give you the chance to really hear what the other person has to say, allowing you to formulate a response based on the problem at hand, not on trying to be heard.

3.) You Can’t Force Communication

In virtually any communication problem, it’s impossible to force someone to talk if they don’t want to. Essentially, if your wife doesn’t want to talk, there’s nothing you can say or do to make her, and if you keep trying, you both may end up frustrated and making the problem worse. It’s also important to remember that when someone tells you “they don’t want to talk about it,” chances are, they really do. By telling you that they don’t want to communicate, they feel like they are gaining the upper-hand and are controlling the situation.

If this is the case, you may find yourself in a pickle: either you keep trying to talk and, as mentioned, get frustrated, or you walk away for now, ultimately getting the other person more upset. In situations like this, it’s best to reassure the other person that you would like to have a conversation about the issue and that they are welcome to come to you when they are ready.

4.) Be Age Appropriate

If you have kids, it’s imperative to be age appropriate in your communication, particularly with teenagers. When kids are young, they see you as a god, and basically anything you say is law. As they grow, however, they may begin to see you as a hindrance to their own freedom and independence. If you continue to approach communication problems with your teenagers as if they were children, you’re going to butt heads fast. The truth is, your teenager still loves you, but you are no longer holding all of the chips in their mind. In addition to making your child feel like their freedom is being encroached upon, you may also make them feel as if you think that they are still a young child when you treat them like one, furthering the problem.

Of course, you must always remain in control of the situation when dealing with children of any age, but when it comes to the locked horns that can occur between a father and a teenager, you should always try to hear them out before countering their argument or voicing your opinion; never be afraid to have a discussion as opposed to stating the rules. This will allow you to show them that you are listening, but also that you are still fulfilling your role as a father.

Finally, keep in mind that communication is not about being right. Communication is, however, about learning. Although it can be difficult, try not to let your ego get the best of you, and never be afraid to admit it if you are wrong.