There are a lot of challenges that affect family ties in these modern times. In fact, in the US alone, divorce rate is constantly increasing. In 2011, the marriage rate was 6.8 per 1,000 total population. The divorce rate was a staggering 3.6 per 1,000 population. This is how high the number of broken marriages is. Aside from broken marriages, another huge family problem is the number of teenagers that are involved in substance abuse. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), 39.2% of 12th graders have already tried alcohol, and 16.3% have tried smoking cigarettes. Illegal drug abuse is also seen amongst 8.5% of 8th graders. There are a lot of factors that affect the status of every family and one of the biggest factors is the lack of communication.
Why is communication important?
According to studies, families that are more open to communication are bound to last longer. Each member of the family can open up their secrets and feel like they are in a safe environment. Those who harbor grudges and not have the avenue to speak them out have a huge tendency to go the wrong way. With open lines of communication, problems are being settled right away. Marital issues are solved before divorce becomes an option. Kids also share their experiences in school that are bothering them. By then, parents can attend to these issues and problems are solved immediately.
In the absence of communication, children would simply resort to other means in order for them to forget their problem. This is why the number of children involved in substance abuse constantly increases. This is also one of the reasons why men go for extramarital affairs. They feel like they can get the love and support from their mistress rather than their wife.
How to Open Communication Lines
Common family problems include finances, time, and attention. All these problems can be solved if everyone in the family starts opening up to each other. Here are some ways for the family to spend some time to talk to each other:
• Spend time together. Go out for an exclusive family trip or just do a road trip. It does not have to be expensive. A simple walk in the park would already suffice. Do this every now and then so that a few hours each week will be spent just for the family. This also helps build trust to one another.
• Eat together. This is something that is no longer observed frequently these days. Everyone has his or her own schedule to follow. No one makes an effort to go out of the way just to gather everyone in the dining table. When eating together, things can be discussed openly. If possible, at least one meal a day should be shared together.
• Be appreciative of each other. Make sure that you get to thank each other for being a blessing to the family. Take time to celebrate important events such as birthdays and anniversaries. In doing this, everyone feels like they are a part of a loving environment.
With communication lines being open, the basic foundation of the society, the family, will remain strong.