1. Say what you can do, not what you can’t do
When we stay in the negative it puts those around us in a negative and defensive frame of mind. It is important to say what you can do instead of what you can’t do. For example, if your husband asks you to mow the lawn and you don’t have the time, or you don’t want to, you can tell him that you do can help with something else instead. It can free him up to mow the lawn and help him to feel like you are willing to help him too. This also pertains to wives and children.
2. Don’t nag be positive and don’t complain about everything
Instead of complaining about how the hamburgers are overdone you can compliment your wife on the potato salad. Thank her for the time that she took making dinner when you know how hard she worked all day. When you compliment someone don’t do it resentfully. For example, don’t say the hamburgers were overdone, but at least the potato salad was good.
3. Be Courteous and Kind
“Thank you for helping me clear off the table. It really makes me feel loved and appreciated.”
It takes so little time and energy to thank someone for helping you. You may be thinking, “Well he should be helping, instead of sitting on his butt. I worked all day too!”
It is amazing how much better you feel about yourself and your relationship when you take the time to express appreciation. This doesn’t just extend to spouses, but to children too. I have a very courteous son because we have taken the time to thank him for the little things that he has done since he was little toddler.
4. Express interest in what all family members needs and interests are
Many husbands come home from work and unload all that they have done at their job all day. It is important to be interested in what your mate or children have done in their daily lives. It is just as important for your mate to express interest in what their spouse has done or what their interests are too. If your wife is a stay at home mom, don’t assume that she is boring and has no interests in her life. Ask her how her day was and what she has done. Men can be particularly remiss in this area.
5. Listen when others are speaking and don’t interrupt
This can be particularly annoying. If your spouse or child is speaking, don’t interrupt them. It is so disrespectful to have someone interrupt you when you are talking. Remember not to interrupt others when they are talking either.
6. Don’t put other members of your family down
Actually you shouldn’t put down anyone, but especially members of your family. It really hurts their self-esteem and doesn’t earn you any respect either. It also teaches our children to be disrespectful to others as well.
7. Don’t put yourself down
Don’t put yourself down either. When we put ourselves down we are saying we don’t like ourselves very much. Parents with low self-esteem raise children with low self-esteem.
8. Keep your issues in the present, don’t bring up past complaints
You really shouldn’t bring up past issues anytime, but especially in an argument. “I remember when you wrecked my car and you didn’t have permission to drive it!”
This could be brought up over a completely different argument. Maybe your spouse overdrew your checking account. You proceed to pound them with a totally unrelated incident. Try to stick with the current issue.
9. Remember that other’s needs are important too
Wives are particularly bad about putting others needs ahead of their own needs. It is important for all members of a family to think of each others needs. Do things that each member likes to do. It makes all members feel important and validated. If there is something that you completely hate to do, there has to be something that you like that is important to each person. You don’t have to do everything with them that they like to do. You need to do somethings with them though that shows interest in what makes them happy.
10. Respect other’s boundaries
Parents especially need to stick together when it comes to boundaries with children. If one parent tells a child that they shouldn’t do something or disciplines them, it is important for the other parent to respect that. A parent shouldn’t go behind the other parent’s backs and let their child do things that the other parent doesn’t approve of. If it is something that you disagree on, discuss it and make a decision on that. Respect your children’s boundaries too. Everyone should ask each other about borrowing someone else’s belongings.