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North Seattle Community College. Framework for Family Communication. Lecture 2 Gender and Family Communication. Framework for Family Communication.

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Framework for family communication

North Seattle Community College

Framework for Family Communication

Lecture 2Gender and Family Communication


Framework for family communication1
Framework for Family Communication

Families are defined primarily through their interaction rather than through their structure (Whitchurch & Dickson, 1999). “Through their communicative practices, parties construct their social reality of who their family is and the meanings that organize it” (Baxter & Braithwaite, 2002). This belief places communication at the core of family experience.


Communication process
Communication Process

  • Communication may be viewed as a symbolic, transactionalprocess of creating and sharing meaning. Symbolicmeans that symbols are used to create meaning and messages (feelings, ideas, kisses, special food, teasing, etc.) Symbols must be mutually understood for the meanings to be shared. If family members do not agree then confusion will result.


Communication process1
Communication Process

  • Communication may be viewed as a symbolic, transactionalprocess of creating and sharing meaning. Transactionalmeans that when people communicate, they have a mutual impact on each other. Thus in relationships, people are both affecting and being affected by other others simultaneously. The focus is placed on the relationship, not the individual participants.


Communication process2
Communication Process

  • Communication may be viewed as a symbolic, transactionalprocess of creating and sharing meaning. To say communication is a process implies that it is continuously changing


Messages and meanings
Messages and Meanings

  • A primary task of families is “meaning making” or the “cocreation of meanings.”

  • “Each partner’s definition of reality must be continually correlated with the definitions of the other” (Berger and Kellner (1964). The meaning-making tasks of family members serve to create a relational culture or world view that characterizes the family system.


Communication patterns and family functions family behavior cohesion adaptability and communication
Communication Patterns and Family FunctionsFamily Behavior: Cohesion, Adaptability, and Communication


Family behavior cohesion adaptability and communication
Family Behavior: Cohesion, Adaptability, and Communication

  • Cohesion: the emotional bonding that family members have towards one another, and include concepts of “emotional bonding, boundaries, time, space, friends, decision-making, interests and recreation (Olson, 2000). “Distance regulation” is a major family function (Kantor and Lehr, 1976).


Family behavior cohesion adaptability and communication1
Family Behavior: Cohesion, Adaptability, and Communication

  • There are four levels of cohesion:

  • Disengaged – family members maintain extreme separateness and little family loyalty

  • Separated – family members experience emotional independence with some joint involvement

  • Connected – Family members strive for emotional closeness, loyalty, and join involvement with some individuality

  • Enmeshed – Family members experience extreme closeness, loyalty, and almost no individuality


Family behavior cohesion adaptability and communication2
Family Behavior: Cohesion, Adaptability, and Communication

There are four levels of adaptability (change):

  • Rigid – Family members operate under autocratic decision-making styles and strict roles and rules.

  • Structured – Family members experience authoritarian and some equalitarian leadership and stable roles and rules.

  • Flexible – Family members experience negotiation and decision making and easily changed roles and rules.

  • Chaotic – Family members have nonexistent leadership, confused decision making and varied rules and roles.


Family behavior cohesion adaptability and communication3
Family Behavior: Cohesion, Adaptability, and Communication

Cohesion-Adaptability Axis: Most well-functioning families are found short of the extremes, except when they are under high levels of stress. Also, families shift from one point to another on the axis during different stages of development


Family behavior cohesion adaptability and communication4
Family Behavior: Cohesion, Adaptability, and Communication

“The family is a system constituted, defined, and managed through its communication. Family members regulate cohesion and adaptability to develop a collective identity through the flow of patterned, meaningful messages within a network of evolving interdependent relationships located within a defined cultural context” (Family Communication 49).


Supporting family functions hess handel 1959
Supporting Family Functions(Hess & Handel 1959):

Families…

  • Establish a satisfactory congruence of images

  • Evolve models of interaction into central family themes

  • Establish the boundaries of the family’s world of experience

  • Deal with significant biosocial issues of family life, such as gender, age, power, and roles


The material for this lecture was excerpted from Chapter 2, Family Communication: Cohesion and Change, Kathleen Galvin et al.


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