Vaishali A. Patel
DESI PARENTING IN ALIGNMENT WITH OUR ROOTS: COMMUNICATION
Updated: Apr 24, 2021
5 ways to improve communication in your family
Our families are like a beautiful, colorful, radiant garden. There are roses, jasmines, tulips, orchids, lilies with gorgeous colors and scents. They all grow differently and are all beautiful on their own. The Garden as a whole is alive because of all the beauty from all of these different and unique flowers. In a family we are all different and unique. In a garden, you can not ask a rose to be a tulip so that there can be more tulips or vice versa. This is also true in a family, we must learn to love and accept who we are without expectations of changing others.
For generations, Indian families have been patriarchal and women have been submissive. However in the last few years this has changed dramatically. What has not changed is being able to communicate clearly without disrespecting or breaking any cultural boundaries.
We are taught to not talk back to our elders, or that our elders in the family know whats best for us because they have experience and are wiser. This sometimes has a very negative effect as when you are being mistreated or you don’t agree with someone older in your family you are afraid to speak up. There is no disrespect in speaking your mind and voicing your opinion.
I am still working on this one however here are few things that have worked for me.
1. Your voice matters:
You can always speak up with respect and kindness. When you disagree with something or someone do not hesitate to say what or how you feel. You can always begin with , “I love and respect what you are saying, I also think we can do it this way and it may not be what you have been doing but this is certainly ok as well.” you end with, “I know we can figure it out so that we both feel at peace”. Doesn’t mean you both will be at peace but your efforts towards creating peace are never wasted.
2. Drop the power struggle:
Look it is not about who is right and who is wrong? The part about communication I am learning is that before you get mad or feel frustrated, think why and where is the other person coming from? Somedays it is ok to drop what you think of how it should be and allow the other person to feel like they are right. It is ok to be wrong because the part of you that feels hurt is the ego, its not you!
3. Firmness with kindness:
As parents we want our kids to listen to us as we know what is best for them, however I can be demanding or I can be firm and kind at the same time. If things don’t get done right away, don’t take it personally however hold firm boundaries about the consequences.
4. Break the gender barrier:
Many Indian families the daughter in laws will not speak up to father in laws because of the imposed respect barrier. We no longer live in those times. Speak up gently and share what you must. You may create a wonderful loving relationship here.
5. Clean and loving intentions:
I too have to keep all of these pointers in mind and do I always follow them? No. However it is great to remind myself frequently that my intention is to never harm others with my words or deeds!