Updated: Aug 28
It can be tough being all together in the same household all the time during lockdown. Here are some ways to manage friction and improve communication.
Do more listening than talking:
If you Listen and Understand you will go a long way to helping the other person - whether child or partner or friend. After you have done that the resulting trust means you can then offer help, suggest solutions, enjoy time together. Keep asking non-judgemental questions until you have satisfied yourself you know what the person is trying to communicate. Remember - it's not your job to solve a person's problems or take away their suffering - but to create the conditions so that they feel safe and can then grow and develop themselves
This is particularly for couples or family members who are bickering. Notice the small criticisms you make. Behind every criticism is a secret wish. What we really want when we criticise a partner is for them to fulfil some need of ours. Before you criticise try to stop for a second. When you're calm think about what it is you want from the person and communicate that clearly and using FACTS - not OPINIONS.
Practice positive communication:
Remember a criticism is a type of punishment and we know that punishment doesn’t work very well in changing behaviour. What does work really well is rewarding good behaviour. So get into the habit of thanking your partner when they do something helpful or kind. The more you do it the more natural it will become. People are much more disposed to doing nice things when they get nice feedback.
Reduce the pressure by keeping your other friendships active:
Get connection and support elsewhere too. You can't depend solely on your partner or housemate. Reach out by phone or video message to other friends and keep your connections wide. This will reduce pressure on a relationship where people are overly reliant on each other - even if this feels safe and connected most of the time.
Supporting children to feel safe and engaged:
It can be very hard having children at home 24/7. Focus on the following principles to keep children entertained and feeling safe:
1. Children need routine. It makes them feel safe when everything is changing and uncertain.
2. Children crave boundaries (even if they try to push them often) - children need to know what's acceptable and what isn't. It can be hard to implement at first but consistency brings results. The boundaries need to be the same no matter which parent is there. Ans they need to be very consistent - i.e. always the same.
3. Make sure there is quality face-to-face time every day (not just being in the same room on our own devices - but engaging and having fun). This is vital for all relationships - partners and parents.