Relationships and communication

Relationships grow on communication. Like everything else on the farm, they suffer when neglected.

Farms usually combine work and home in one location, this can make for very close relationships.  It can also mean there is little escape from each other when times get tough and conflict occurs.

All relationships require effort, whether it’s personal relationships with family members or relationships with other farm workers. It’s important to talk about issues as they arise. Some conflict is normal, but don’t let things build up until someone explodes.

Relationships and communication

Communication is important in relationships with partners, children, other family members, work colleagues and friends. It allows us to share interests, aspirations and concerns, to support each other, to organise our lives and make decisions, and to work together in caring for children. Most of us can learn how to communicate more effectively. A relationship counsellor can help if communication is difficult or breaks down.

Communication needs to be prioritised. When day-to-day communication is being neglected due to the busyness of life, setting time aside for a family or farm business meeting can be important. Make these meetings a regular occurrence so concerns are dealt with promptly. Make these meetings an opportunity to celebrate your successes as well as your challenges. Give everyone a chance to be heard.

Never underestimate the value of having a conversation. However, communication is not always only about talking—listening is just as important. Taking some time out of our busy day to listen— uninterrupted—to someone who might be doing it tough can have enormous benefit. Be patient, avoid judgement and recognise that everyone experiences stressful situations differently.

Find out more about this topic on Better Health Channel

References used for this topic page

More information:

Australian Government
Family relationships online

Better Health Channel
Relationships and communication

Better Health Channel
Rural issues – suggestions for farm families in crisis

Farm Weekly
Communication is key to family farming

Grains Research and Development Corporation
A Guide to Communication for Farm Families

Research & reviews:

The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues

Current Opinion in Psychology
What Type of Communication during Conflict is Beneficial for Intimate Relationships?

Fast facts:

Relationships and communication

  • The nature of farm life, combining home and work in one location can at times put a strain on relationships.
  • All relationships can become strained and tense at times and some conflict is normal.
  • Talk about your feelings and listen to the other person’s point of view.
  • Find a middle ground on issues that are causing friction.
  • Learn to build healthy and happy relationships to prepare for the hard times.

Last updated: 27th April, 2020