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Family Communication PART SET Dr MargiAnne Isaia, MD MPH PCC-T DrAnneenthusiasticLife 5
COMMUNICATION Communication is concerned with the delivery and reception of verbal and nonverbal information between family members. It includes skills in exchanging patterns of information within the family system. Communication is the third dimension in the Circumplex Model, besides flexibility and cohesion, and is considered a facilitating dimension. In general, positive communication skills are seen as helping couple and family systems facilitate and maintain a balance on the two dimensions. Conversely, poor communication impedes movement in the Unbalanced systems and increases the chances these systems will remain extreme.
COMMUNICATION Couple and family communication is measured by focusing on the family as a group with regard to their listening skills, speaking skills, self-disclosure, clarity, continuity tracking, respect and regard. In terms of listening skills, the focus is on empathy and attentive listening Speaking skills include speaking for oneself and not speaking for others Self disclosure relates to sharing feelings about self and the relationship Tracking is staying on topic Respect and regard relate to the affective aspects of the communication and problem solving skills in couples and families
COMMUNICATION Balanced types of couples/families will have more positive communication compared to unbalanced systems. Good communication skills require a high level of self-awareness. By becoming more aware of how others perceive you, you can adapt more readily to their styles of communicating.
COMMUNICATION STYLES 1.Clear and Direct It is the healthiest form of communication and occurs when the message is stated plainly and directly to the appropriate family member. An example is when a father, disappointed about his son failing to complete his chore, states, “Son, I'm disappointed that you forgot to take out the trash today without my having to remind you.” 2. Clear and Indirect The message is clear, but it is not directed to the person for whom it is intended. Using the previous example, the father might say, “It's disappointing when people forget to complete their chores.”
COMMUNICATION STYLES 3. Masked and Direct It occurs when the content of the message is unclear, but directed to the appropriate family member. The father may say something like, “Son, people just don't work as hard as they used to…” 4. Masked and Indirect It occurs when both the message and intended recipient are unclear. In unhealthy family relationships, communication tends to be very masked and indirect. An example of this type of communication might be the father stating, “The youth of today are very lazy….”
BASIC COMMUNICATION BEHAVIORS: Aggressive Communication Aggressive communication always involves manipulation. We may attempt to make people do what we want by inducing guilt (hurt) or by using intimidation and control tactics (anger). Covert or overt, we simply want our needs met - and right now! It will never work in a relationship. The aggressive style is essential at certain times such as: When a decision has to be made quickly; During emergencies; When you know you're right and that fact is crucial; Stimulating creativity by designing competitions destined for use in training or to increase productivity.
ELEMENTS OF THE AGGRESSIVE COMMUNICATION Mottos and Beliefs "Everyone should be like me." "I am never wrong." "I've got rights, but you don't." Characteristics Achieves goals, often at others' expense Domineering, bullying Patronizing Condescending, sarcastic
ELEMENTS OF THE AGGRESSIVE COMMUNICATION Verbal Cues "You ought to …." "Don't ask why. Just do it." Verbal abuse Effects Provokes counter aggression, alienation from others, ill health Wastes time and energy over supervising others Pays high price in human relationships Fosters resistance, defiance, sabotaging, striking back, forming alliances, lying, covering up Forces compliance with resentment
PASSIVE COMMUNICATION Passive communication is based on compliance and hopes to avoid confrontation at all costs. In this mode we don't talk much, question even less, and actually do very little. We just don't want to rock the boat. Passives have learned that it is safer not to react and better to disappear than to stand up and be noticed.
PASSIVE COMMUNICATION Passiveness has its critical applications: When an issue is minor; When the problems caused by the conflict are greater than the conflict itself; When emotions are running high and it makes sense to take a break in order to calm down and regain perspective; When your power is much lower than the other party's; When the other's position is impossible to change for all practical purposes.
ELEMENTS OF THE PASSIVE COMMUNICATION Mottos and Beliefs "Don't express your true feelings." "Don't make waves." "Don't disagree." "Others have more rights than I do." Characteristics Apologetic, self-conscious Trusts others, but not self Doesn't express own wants and feelings Allows others to make decisions for self Doesn't get what he or she wants
ELEMENTS OF THE PASSIVE COMMUNICATION Verbal Cues "You should do it." "You have more experience than I do." "I can't......" "This is probably wrong, but..." "I'll try..." Monotone, low energy Effects Gives up being him or herself Builds dependency relationships Doesn't know where he or she stands Slowly loses self esteem Promotes others' causes Is not well-liked
ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION The most effective and healthiest form of communication is the assertive style. It's how we naturally express ourselves when our self-esteem is intact, giving us the confidence to communicate without games and manipulation. When we are being assertive, we work hard to create mutually satisfying solutions. We communicate our needs clearly and forthrightly. We care about the relationship and strive for a win/win situation. We know our limits and refuse to be pushed beyond them just because someone else wants or needs something from us. Surprisingly, assertive is the style most people use least.
ELEMENTS OF THE ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION Mottoes and Beliefs Believes self and others are valuable Knowing that assertiveness doesn't mean you always win, but that you handled the situation as effectively as possible "I have rights, and so do others." Characteristics Non-judgmental Observes behavior rather than labeling it Trusts self and others Confident Self-aware Open, flexible, versatile Playful, sense of humor Decisive Proactive, initiating
ELEMENTS OF THE ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION Verbal Cues "I choose to..." "What are my options?" "What alternatives do we have?" Effects Increased self-esteem and self-confidence Increased self-esteem of others Feels motivated and understood Others know where they stand The assertive style is the one to strive for. Keep in mind that very few people are all one or another style.
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PARENT AND ADOLESCENT Adolescents who perceived higher levels of open communication with their parents reported better psychosocial adjustment than youth who perceived low levels of open communication. Fathers and mothers have different influences on adolescent boys’ and girls’ psychological health when communicating different topics. Interventions could help parents by providing parents with a set of communication skills to communicate effectively with their sons, and emphasizing appropriate topics for mothers and fathers to communicate with their adolescent daughters and sons, respectively.
FROM CLASSICAL AUTHOR “Some parents do not understand their children and are not really acquainted with them. There is often a great distance between parents and children. If the parents would enter more fully into the feelings of their children and draw out what is in their hearts, it would have a beneficial influence upon them”. EGW AH “Parents should encourage in their children a disposition to be open and frank with them, to come to them with their difficulties and, when they are perplexed as to what course is right, to lay the matter just as they view it before the parents and ask their advice”. EGW AH 191.2
FAMILY REFLECTION What communication style did your parents use in their interactions? What is your style of communication with family members? How could you describe your communication with children? Who is the person you are more open in communicationg sensitive issues? How do you appreciate the role of communication when a family member has a terrible disease?
REFERENCES Olson, D. H., Circumplex Model of Marital & Family Systems “Empirical Approaches to Family Assessment”, special edition of the Journal of Family Therapy (1999) Xiaoa, Z., Lib, X., & Bonita Stanton, B., Perceptions of parent–adolescent communication within families: It is a matter of perspective, Psychology, Health & Medicine Vol. 16, No. 1, January 2011, 53–65 Html White, E. G., The Adventist Home