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  • Understanding Different Family Communication Styles

    Communication is key in any type of relationship. Communication may be thought of with coworkers or friends, but the conversations that you have with your own family members are equally important.

    Even between family members, you still have to take the same approach in communicating with one another. Although you may have been raised under the same household guidelines, rules, and responsibilities, each person who makes up the family will bring their own personalities, opinions, wants, needs, morals, beliefs, and more to the table.

    Let’s learn more about different family communication styles.

    What Is a Family Communication Style?

    Family communication patterns theory is the idea that conversations that occur between family members have a pattern of conversational orientation and conformity orientation.

    Conversational orientation is the measure that considers how often family members communicate with one another, as well as how open they are with one another. Conformity orientation is the attitudes, beliefs, and values that may be passed on from a parent to their child.

    The idea behind family communication patterns theory is that there are four different family communication styles. Let’s examine the four different family communication patterns.

    1. The Consensual Family Communication Style

    The first type of family communication pattern is the consensual family type. The consensual family communication style involves high conversational as well as high conformity.

    In this type of family dynamic, the parents make decisions for the family. Parents still show an acute interest in their children’s thoughts and feelings, even though they have the final say. Parents will be sure to provide an explanation and reasoning behind all decisions that are made. This way, their children have a better understanding of any decisions.

    While children may share similar beliefs and values in this type of communication style, conversations between family members are extremely important.

    2. The Pluralistic Family Communication Style

    A pluralistic family communication style involves high conversational and low conformity. This type of family dynamic involves open and honest communication.

    The parents won’t make any decisions for their children. Instead, they will actively encourage their entire family, kids included, to speak up and help make the decision together as a team.

    A benefit of this type of communication style is that children will have stronger decision-making and independence skills.

    3. The Protective Family Communication Style

    A protective family communication style involves low conversational and high conformity. This dynamic doesn’t involve a lot of communication with one another. Instead, parents are more concerned about their children obeying the rules that they have laid out for them. The parents will have the final say in any decisions that are being made and won’t feel obligated to explain themselves.

    4. The Laissez-Faire Family Communication Style

    The final family communication style is the laissez-faire style. This involves both low conversational and low conformity. In this family dynamic, there are fewer conversations between members of the family.

    This means that each member of the family will hold their own beliefs, values, and morals and make decisions for themselves. In a laissez-faire family, the members of the family aren’t as close compared to the other communication styles.

    If a child is raised in this type of environment, they may end up seeking additional support from a family friend or teacher instead of their own parents.

    Next Steps

    There isn’t exactly a right way to communicate between members of your own family. That’s why there are different styles and approaches. Communication is something that can constantly be improved upon. If you’re looking to improve communication on your own end and between members of your family, it’s not too late.

    Working with a mental health professional may be exactly what you and your family need to help you move forward into healthier communication with one another. Reach out today to set up a consultation and learn more about relationship counseling.