Everyone communicates differently, even in families. That’s to be expected, and it doesn’t mean your communication habits and patterns can’t co-exist effectively.
However, if you think you have trouble communicating with your family or everyone always seems to be butting heads, it could mean you need to pay more attention to their communication patterns.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common communication patterns, how they could be impacting your family’s connection, and what you can do to ensure you’re all communicating as effectively and meaningfully as possible.
Understanding Individual Communication Styles
Chances are, your family’s communication patterns will stem from each individual’s communication styles. Those styles include assertive, aggressive, passive, passive-aggressive, and manipulative.
Assertive communication styles are considered to be the most effective, while manipulative styles can obviously cause a lot of drama and distrust, especially within a family.
An assertive individual will express themselves and their needs confidently and in healthy ways. If you have family members who are aggressive or passive-aggressive, they might either come across as hostile or violent, or they might use sarcasm or spread rumors to get what they want.
The Problem with Patterns
It’s not uncommon for people living under the same roof to develop communication patterns. Like any other pattern, these styles become “routine” and almost predictable. Eventually, your whole family might fall into a very specific communication routine. That can be healthy if you have a family full of assertive communicators who are able to healthily discuss almost any topic freely.
Some families even adopt pluralistic communication patterns. These allow for open conversations and give every family member the opportunity to provide their input, rather than one or two figures making all the authoritative decisions.
The problem with certain patterns, including laissez-faire and protective, is that they can cause emotional detachment.
For example, if parents take a laissez-faire approach with their children, they could be causing their kids to think no one really cares about what they do or the decisions they make
On the other hand, parents with protective communication styles might not be giving their kids enough trust. They don’t let their children make any decisions on their own. That can lead to co-dependent adults who struggle with personal relationships.
Breaking Unhealthy Communication Patterns
These are just a few examples of how some communication patterns can promote positivity while others can lead to lasting issues.
So, why is it so important to pay attention to these patterns?
So you can break them, if necessary.
The more you understand the characteristics of certain communication styles, the easier it is to identify when they become patterns. You’ll be able to pick up on things that trigger certain family members to communicate in certain ways, and why these patterns keep coming up (because no one is willing to change their style).
You might not be able to change your family’s communication habits and patterns, especially when it comes to parents and grandparents.
However, you can use them to look internally and identify your own style(s) and patterns. In doing so, you’ll be able to make any necessary positive changes to communicate more effectively.
You’ll also become a better active listener, learning how other people in your life communicate, and providing them with what they need in response.
It can be difficult to break free from negative communication patterns within a family. However, even familial relationships don’t work as well when healthy communication isn’t present.
If you’re struggling to understand your family’s communication patterns or you want to break them without also breaking your family bonds, feel free to contact me for more information or to set up an appointment for parenting counseling.