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Family Communication

Communication is key to the very existence of society. One of the characteristics of a strong family is the ability to maintain positive communication with each other. This requires regular practice.

Some of these activities, based on the experiential learning model will help families practice active communication. The terms used in the activity reflect the experiential process of doing, sharing, processing, generalizing and applying the information that has just been learned.

The following activity is designed to help adults and children talk and listen to each other. This can also be used to discuss an important family issue or problem that has come up. You will want to have available a large room or table, time, family members, and a spoon.

Activity :The Big Spooner

Do It: Place the spoon in the middle of a table. The person who is experiencing the problem should pick up the spoon and begin to speak about the problem. No one else is allowed to speak until the person has finished. The next person who would like to respond or offer comment, requests the opportunity to talk, picks up the spoon, and begins to talk.

Share it: After the issue has been discussed by the family, share each one’s feelings about what just took place. Ask if it was an appropriate way of talking about family problems.

Look closely: Have everyone talk together about the following questions: Did it feel better to have everyone’s attention? Was it good to talk in turn and not have everybody talking at the same time? Did the process help to resolve the issue? Was the issue discussed in a calm manner?

Generally Speaking: Ask each person to discuss: Can this method of communication help to resolve other issues that might come up in the family? Does everybody’s involvement strengthen the communication process?

Extending Our Knowledge: Discuss how this method of communication can be used in other ways and in other settings in the family.

Source: Family 4-H, University of Illinois Extension

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