Healthy family relationships depend on healthy communications 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. Good communication skills should be taught from birth and continue throughout adulthood. In order to have a good parent/child relationship with open communication, there must also be mutual respect. If there is no respect, the lines of communication will falter.
Tom Schwartz 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. “Good communication helps keep a family running smoothly and prevents misunderstandings from escalating into conflict or from being buried unresolved.” (Feiden, 68) 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. In cases like this, communication is crucial. The secrets should be shared within the family. Let the child(ren) know what the secrets are, why they are secrets and that it is important that they know what is happening in the family but also that it is a family matter not to be shared outside of the family unit. Express that they shouldn’t be ashamed of them but they have a right to know. If the child(ren) sees that you are open enough with them to share your secrets, they will be more willing to share their secrets with you, the parent.
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...