Healthy family relationships depend on healthy communications. “Good communication helps keep a family running smoothly and prevents misunderstandings from escalating into conflict or from being buried unresolved.” (Feiden, 68) There are many ways and times to practice and teach good communication to children. There are many times that without good communication, the parent-child relationship suffers and sometimes ends abruptly.
Allen Schwartz, PH.D., states that he knows of “many cases where children are raised in an atmosphere of dark secrecy about both the matriarchal and patriarchal parts of their families. They grow up with a sense that something must be wrong but fear discussing this with their parents.” (5) Most people have grown up with family secrets, but some secrets can destroy a family. The act of hiding the secret(s) provides an excuse to limit self-disclosure, and reacts negatively on one’s self-esteem. When these become extremely limited or negative, there is an increased chance of a separation and possible ending of the relationship. The end of the relationship could mean that parent and child no longer talk, or they are forcibly separated for their own health in extreme cases. Unfortunately, “emotional health can be passed down from generation to generation just as easily as abuse and dysfunction,” (Bloch, 7) making such dysfunctions of communications a continuous process.
Sturges writes “children will learn how to communicate with the world based in large part on how they have learned to communicate with their parents.” (31) Children often learn their communication behaviors not only from what we say but also from our actions. For example, If you tell your child that they can talk to you about anything, but you are always too busy to listen, then your actions are the learned communication trait. Even babies begin to learn to communicate the moment they are born. They learn by nonverbal communications. Eye contact, tone of voice, proximity, and touching are the most notable nonverbal forms that are learned by babies. Feiden wrote:
“Non verbal reassurance and physical contact [...] are vital to a healthy childhood. Can be as simple as a reassuring smile and a firm hug.” “Touch is important not only during infancy to promote bonding and to be soothing, but also throughout childhood, and ultimately for the rest of a person’s life. A hug is just as necessary for a teen to feel valued and secure as it is for a toddler. It is an important factor in the child’s ability to form close social ties throughout life.” (73)
Since touching is so important to the development of the child and the long-term relationship between child and parent, it seems to explain some of the withdraw behaviors many teens experience. When a child reaches the age of sexual maturity many parents begin to retract or reduce their hugging and touching. There is the point of morality and a very fine line that can be crossed, and there is the point of...