Written by: Director, The Hong Kong Institute of Family Education, Dr. Tik Chi-yuen
To maintain good and intimate family relationships, three elements are needed, including family planning, family communication and family empathy. Whether it is an individual, a group or a community, there is a need to have a plan. These plans should include directions, goals, actions and solutions to problems. Likewise, every family needs to have its own family plan. In simpler terms, planning for home ownership, savings, travel, and children requires clear planning and action. In the process of talking about these plans, it is important for all family members to share them, and for everyone to agree on them so that they can work together to create a happy family.
Once we have a plan, we should try to put it into practice and implement it. In the process of practice, good communication is needed. In a family, there will always be disagreements and disputes between members. If these disagreements and disputes are not resolved, they will turn into family disputes and conflicts, and the family plan will not achieve its goal. The most effective way to resolve disputes and conflicts between members is through communication. When people and nations face conflicts, there are two ways to resolve them: one is to fight, to defeat the opponent, and to win; the other is to communicate, to negotiate, to understand, and to find a solution.
In my opinion, the second method of solving problems through communication is the most ideal. And what problems cannot be solved in the family? As long as we can communicate effectively, we will always find a solution that is acceptable to everyone, so a good family needs to be built by effective communication.
To achieve mutual understanding and accommodation, we need to be empathetic, that is, to understand each other’s difficulties and needs from the other person’s perspective, and for adolescent children, it is even more important for family members to be understanding because they are in a rebellious period and need to learn to be independent. Everyone faces different situations and difficulties, and there may be unique difficulties that come from not doing well in some areas.
If we can understand each other’s point of view more often, we will have different understandings and thus accept each other’s situation more easily, which will make us accept and understand each other more. Family members should think more from each other’s point of view. This will help to reduce conflicts, so that we can reach a consensus and solve the problem quickly.