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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Families: Nebraska's Future

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Keeping Families First

Programs are available throughout Nebraska to help meet the needs of families and children


Family Communication in Times of Stress

Keeping Your Family First


Communication is a major key in creating, supporting and maintaining a family. Two characteristics that are strongly related to family communication are: positive communication and affection. Positive communication means that family members talk and listen to each other in a noncritical, nonjudgmental, and nonthreatening manner. They "listen with their hearts as well as their ears." they can talk about what makes them angry, sad, hurt or pleased. Strong families have conflicts and members argue, but they take the time to talk out their differences and share feelings to better understand each other. Strong families like to laugh and use humor to reduce tension, lessen anxiety, express warmth and put people at ease.

Appreciation and affection are expressions of how family members show they deeply care for each other. They say "thank you," "please," "I love you," and "you are important in my life," by actions as well as words. By compliments and gestures, they let others know they are special. They intentionally give positive strokes and avoid giving negative ones.

Families that are able to cope effectively with stress talk things through calmly until they reach a solution. They respect other family members' feelings and take time to hear what each person has to say. These families end conflict on a positive note.






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