Communication May Be Key to Improving Family Life, Survey Shows
Communication between partners is a major cause of discord at home, with nearly one-third of married parents saying poor communication or disorganization causes arguments with spouses about scheduling and household responsibilities, according to a new survey of married U.S. adults by family calendar and organization service Cozi.
The issue doesn't just cause problems between spouses; the findings also suggest that poor communication causes parents to lose quality time with their kids. In fact, 40 percent of married parents estimate more than half the time with their children is spent clarifying information about scheduling, nagging them to do various chores and discussing logistical issues.
Communication issues can cause so much tension between partners that nearly one in five spouses surveyed say they've considered divorce because of them, and more than half say communication issues strongly impact their sex life.
But there are ways to help smooth things over at home and make family time more relaxing.
Try empowering your kids so they take more responsibility for their lives and family tasks. Help them get organized so they can remember their own dates for school work and put together a schedule so they can get through their morning routine without being nagged.
While you're at it, set up a chore list so your kids can do what they're supposed to without being told. If you expect more from your kids around the house, it helps take the burden off of you so you spend less time helping with the basics, Cozi's experts say.
With couples, the survey revealed that often it's the actual topic of communication that needs to be changed, saying too much time is spent on mundane subjects. In fact, the top two reasons couples say they communicate are to let their spouse know about a change in their or a child's schedule and to ask a spouse to pick up items from the grocery store.
Saying "I love you" and making romantic plans were listed as the least common reasons for communicating with a spouse.
To help alleviate problems around scheduling and logistics, Cozi suggests keeping a family schedule in one place. Also, try holding a family meeting. Though it might seem strange to have to schedule a meeting with your family, this is one area where work tactics may be the best way to go.
Editor's note: This article was updated on Feb. 10, 2011.
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