3 Ways Families Can Attune to Each Other During Conversations

What’s the rate of speed that time is flying in your house?

Our little tribe of humans is developing at an alarming pace and it seems like we’re always busy and always distracted. So distracted that it’s easy to forget to tune into each other’s inner world. Dr. Seigal’s definition of attunement is my favorite. He says…

Attunement is the reactiveness we have to another person. It is the process by which we form relationships.

Dr. Dan Seigal

So here are 3 ways you can form stronger relationships in your family by attuning to each other during conversations.

1. Our eyes show that we are listening. 

Our body language makes up 93% of our communication – every single thing we do, whether large or small, will have some sort of message attached to it.

When we don’t look up from our screens or make eye contact, we send a message that “what I’m doing is more important and I’m not interested in what you have to say.

But if we give our family members our eyes and lean into them while they’re talking, we send the message that “you’re important and what you have to tell me is important.” 

Making eye contact will increase empathy for others’ feelings while also creating a sense connection between the people sharing the conversation.

During your next conversation, try this…

  • Bring your mind and focus onto the other person.
  • Put the phone down and give your full attention.
  • If you’re unable to give your full attention, remain connected by saying something like…

 Hey, I really want to hear what you have to say, but I can’t be interrupted right now. Can you write down your question so we don’t forget? In ___ minutes, I can give you my full attention.

By doing this, you’re saying without saying…

  • I love you.
  • You are valubale to me.
  • I am interested in what you have to tell me.

2.Get comfortable with emotions.

Emotions are the currency of connection. It’s time we quit thinking that having emotions makes us weak or broken. Emotions are just how we respond to situations. One study done at UC Berkeley concluded that we have 27 different emotions. But it’s not a buffet – we can’t pick and choose which emotions to feel.

We tend to feel uncomfortable with negative feeling emotions because they’re painful or, worse; if we’ve been hurt by someone’s emotionally charged reaction. But emotions are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose how we respond when we feel them. We want emotions with us in the car, but we don’t want them in the driver’s seat. They belong in the passenger seat.

During your next conversation, try this…

  • Use a feelings chart! Print on out and hang it up in a central location in your house. This helps get everyone get familiar with emotions. We have this one hanging in our home.
  • Identify which emotions they (or you) are feeling the next time there’s an emotionally charged situation.
  • You can say something like… “it seems like you’re feeling mad about _____. Can you tell me more about that so I can understand?”

By doing this, you’re saying without saying…

  • I love you.
  • What you are feeling is important to me.
  • I am here for you, you are not alone.

 3. Stay curious & ask open-ended questions.

As humans, we have internal dialogue – we talk and listen to ourselves more than we do with anyone else. That’s why it’s important to check in with our family members inner worlds.

What are the conversations that our kiddos are having with themselves?

What do they believe about themselves?

It’s essential to know this if we want to attune to their internal world.

Kids expect us adults to be interested in them. Our roles as parents will change as our family grows, but being students of each other is a lifelong journey.If we stay curious and take a posture of lifelong learning, we help them feel seen, heard, known, and loved.

During your next conversation, try this…

Ask open-ended questions to nurture healthy emotional connections and learn more about their inner world…

  • Is there anything that you’ve been thinking about but feel afraid or uncomfortable to ask?  
  • Is there anything you would like to know about?
  • What was that situation like for you? 
  • How did that make you feel?
  • What are you confused about?
  • What do you usually think about while falling asleep?
  • What sorts of things have you been curious about lately?

By doing this, you’re saying without saying…

  • I am for you.
  • I like you.
  • You being different than me is ok.

And while we can’t always know what’s going on in their head, these three simple ways will help our family members tune in to each other’s inner worlds and form healthy emotions connections.

Remaining students of one another makes for better relationships of any kind.

For more insight into your kiddo’s inner world, have them take our personality quiz for kids at knowandlove.com.

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