Communication and Problem Solving in the Family

Communication and Problem Solving in the Family

Marriage and Family Interaction HPER F258 Kathleen R. Gilbert, Ph.D. Positive relationship between marital satisfaction and couples ability to communicate Not lack of communication, per se, but the quality of communication

Problem if destructive (put-downs, negative messages) Quality not quantity In your small groups, discuss the following: What are your thoughts on these two

statements: It is important to be completely honest in a relationship. Sometimes, its better to skirt the truth than to be completely honest. Is there ever a time when its better to be dishonest in a relationship? How does the relationship recover when a dishonesty is discovered?

Ideas, feelings shared with another person Sent through both channels Consistent vs. mixed messages Are channels consistent? Can become a power thing (what do you mean Im not clear. Youre always saying that!)

Person who constructs message and attempts to send it Generally what we think of as someone communicating May be intentional or unintentional Arguing with spouse is intentional; children hearing argument may be unintentional Person who receives the message sent by

the sender Listener (but more active than that) May be intentional or unintentional receiver If unintentional, may be no way of clarifying what was meant In order to send message, must first

organize thoughts/gestures/phrasing so that they can be understood by the receiver Receiver makes sense of message by decoding it into feelings, intentions, and thoughts that mean something to him or her May be difficult because decoder (listener) filters message through own perceptions and must cope with the filters of the

sender and the environment Two basic forms of information Cognitive Information thinking part Affective Information

feeling part In your small groups discuss article #10, New Technologies What are your thoughts on the use of the internet as a tool for finding dating and mating partners? What might be communication strengths and weaknesses of the internet for this purpose?

Gender differences Males tend to focus on cognitive elements Report talk Focus is on problem solving and on end result More likely to use communication for competition Females tend to focus on affective elements

Rapport talk Focus is on the process rather than an outcome More likely to use communication as a tool for communication or for advancing the relationship Generational/age differences Power differential is at issue Differences in ability to communicate

May speak different first language Developmental ability to communicate Normal for childrenbut remember that elderly may have had stroke or other communication problems Content what is communicated Style how it is communicated Different colloquial language (slang) Used to create and maintain the separateness

Secret language Can be used to maintain a separation from others Verbal communication (digital) Think of a digital clock Spoken words Can break it into communication bits

Words, phrases What you would see in a transcript of a conversation What is communicated, not how it is communicated Only makes up 35% of message (at best) (Satir)

Non-verbal communication (analogic) Think of an analogue (face) clock body language the messages you communicate using your body Paralanguage tone, phrasing We can only guess at some of this, much is implied and approximate It is impossible to not communicate

Even silence communicates a message Most affective communication is done through non-verbal means Because it is non-verbal, it is subject to misinterpretation How it is communicated, not what is communicated Placater -- pleases, apologizes, never

disagrees, no matter what Blamer fault-finder, dictator, boss who acts superior to others Computer - very correct, very reasonable, shows no semblance of feelings Distracter - does or says irrelevant things to whatever anyone else is saying or doing

Leveler - straight-forward communication, no games, verbal and non-verbal communication is in congruence Discuss the form of communication you

saw as you were growing up. Thinking back to your childhood family, do you recognize any of the functional or dysfunctional communication patterns? Are there other ways of communicating that you recognize that are not included in Satirs categories?

Four horsemen dont indicate the end of the relationship but are warnings Attacking someones personality or character rather than a specific behavior, usually with blame Often starts with complaining (which can make marriages stronger) bad when it becomes overriding focus of communication or wont let go of past

transgressions (gunnysacking) Intention to insult and psychologically abuse partner, verbal and nonverbal messages are contemptuous. Includes negative thoughts about partner. Focal point of the relationship becomes abuse (insults and name calling, hostile humor, mockery, body language)

Both feel victimized by other and neither willing to take responsibility for setting things right. Both feel innocent, denying responsibility, making excuses, disagreeing with negative mind-reading, cross-complaining, repeating themselves

Go from poor communication to shutting down Conveys a message of disapproval, distance and smugness Very upsetting for speaker (especially if stonewaller is a male)

In order to compensate for their disproportionate effect, it is necessary to have a ratio of 5 good interaction elements to compensate for 1 negative one Includes verbal and nonverbal elements E.g., positive expressions, conciliatory gestures, really listening

If it lowers below 5 to 1, there are problems Hand in to your discussion leader: Identify one point that you found helpful in this lecture. Identify any point that was unclear.

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