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Communication and getting along at home

Living with the highs and lows of other people’s mood can make communication tough. This article explains why mis-communication happens.
Family eating around a table
© University of Reading

Communication between those at home is not always easy, and can sometimes be fraught, tense or confrontational. And research shows that this is higher in families when teenagers are experiencing low mood and depression.


When we’re low, we sometimes misinterpret what others are saying, assuming a more negative meaning. Low mood has a sneaky way of twisting things and blowing things out of proportion. We often don’t even realise that we’re doing it.

Some of these misinterpretations can mean that when a friend or family member speaks to us, we might interpret it, or hear it, differently. For example:

They say You hear
“Are you going to do some school work this morning?” “You’re not working hard enough”
“Have you spoken to your friends?” “You don’t have enough friends”
“Can you help me with dinner tonight?” “You never help out”
“Are you ok?” “There’s something wrong with you”

Have a look at a video demonstration in the next Step of how easy it can be to misinterpret what someone else is saying, particularly when you are feeling low or stressed.

© University of Reading
This article is from the free online

Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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