Every family has bumps in the road, which can create stress. But the stress can be increased significantly when the family has poor communication skills. Here are a few “Don’ts” when communicating with your family.


  • Give long lectures or sermons. Everyone will loose interest.
  • Blame each other with statements like “It’s your fault.” Blaming only gets the other person defensive.
  • Make vague statements like, “I don’t like that“, “Shape up”, or “Knock it off.” These statements are not telling the person what you specifically need from them.
  • Ask negative questions like, “Why do you always do that?” and “How many times do I have to tell you?”
  • Listen poorly and with offensive body language. Don’t look away, cross your arms, or use the silent treatment.
  • Interrupt
  • Not check to see if you really understand others. This leads to assumptions and miscommunication.
  • Put others down or threaten them (i.e. You’re worthless, I’m sick of you, If you keep this up-I’m out of here, etc.)

If you notice yourself doing some of these, it’s time to take a step back. Teaching and participating in these negative communication patterns will end with people not feeling safe and shame issues.

It’s time to stop these slippery cycles and focus of healthy ways to communicate.