The Von Trapp FamilyCommunication Collage CMS 332 Spring 2012 Tanya Iverson
Family Communication Evolution The Von Trapp Family’s transition through multiple family types represents a common pattern in which a two parent biological family became a single parent family, then evolves to a blended family with Maria as a stepmother.“Overtime, families change as theypass through stages of growth;members are born, age, leave, and die,and the communication patternsimpact and reflect these developmentsin family life.”(26)
Cohesion as a Single Parent Family Captain Baron Von Trapp -widowed ex-naval officer who is disengaged from his family and maintains extreme separateness and independence from his children by hiring governess’s to nurture. Whereas he viewed his specific role function in the family as that of a provider of basic resources and discipline. The Von Trapp Children-Liesl-16, Fredrik- 14, Louisa-13, Kurt-12, Brigitta-10,Marta-7, Gretl-5 Enmeshed- Family members experience extreme closeness, loyalty, and dependence and almost no individuality. (Olson, Defrain, & Skogard, 2008)(31)Frau Schmidt -Housekeeper: “The Von Trapp children dont play. They march.”
Flexibility as a Single Parent Family Rigid- Family members experience very low levels of change, as well as authoritative leadership and strict roles & rules (32)““Rules serve as generative mechanism capable of creating regularity where non exists”(83) Captain runs his family like he was still aboard a ship and a commander rather than his private home and a Father, for example dressing them in sailor suit uniforms, calling them by whistle, and issuing orders. This combats the change of caregivers. Captain: The first rule of this household is discipline.
You are the twelfth governess to look after my children since their mother died. I trust you will be an improvement on the last one. She stayed only two hours." Von Trapp Family Boundary’s The new governess, Frauline Marie, a young women who is considering the sisterhood arrives from Salzburg Abbey. Captain: You are the twelfth governess to look after my children since their mother died. I trust you will be an improvement on the last one. She stayed only two hours…. Oh, theres nothing wrong with the children. Only the governesses.” External boundaries establishes the level of family connection between family members and the outside world.(42) . Closed boundaries resist the flow of people from the external environment
Orchestration/ Implementation of PowerBefore Maria, the family didn’t question the Captain’s orchestration of powerconveyed by the whistle or the implementation of this communication method by thegovernesses. Captain von Trapp: Now, when I want you, this is what you will hear. [blows whistle] Maria: Oh, no, sir. Im sorry, sir. I could never answer to a whistle. Whistles are for dogs and cats and other animals, but not for children and definitely not for me. It would be too... humiliating. Captain von Trapp: Hmm. [starts walking away. Maria blows her whistle & he turns around] Maria: Excuse me, sir. I dont know your signal “Negotiation can result in mutually acceptable compromises on power issues.”(184)
Power- Cognitive Resources As family members exert power or respond to others’ power moves, the family system recalibrates itself. Even Children exercise power since it “is a interactive quality of adults and Children.”(Socha & Yingling, 2010, pg.93) Maria: Id like to thank you all for the precious gift you left in my pocket today. Captain von Trapp: What gift? Maria: Its meant to be a secret between the children and me. Captain von Trapp: Then I suggest you keep it, and let us eat. Maria: Knowing how nervous I must have been, a stranger in a new household, knowing how important it was for me to feel accepted, it was so kind and thoughtful of you to make my first moments here so warm and happy and pleasant.Maria utilized the cognitive resource of shame to regain power after the kid ‘s prank.
Essential SecretsMaria’s choice to keep the frog in her pocket prank a secretbetween her and the children helped to create trust bond andallowed the boundary to become permeable.Essential secrets, which support necessary boundaries defining arelationship, may included talking about fear or insecurities,which enhances closeness and fosters development of self andrelationships. (89) Liesl: Are you going to tell on me? Maria: Liesl, were you out walking all by yourself? If we wash that dress tonight, nobody would notice it tomorrow. You could put this on. Take your dress and put it to soak in the bathtub. Come back here and sit on the bed, and well have a talk. Liesl: I told you today I didnt need a governess. Well, maybe I do.
Role Appropriation“Family members negotiate their mutual expectations of another, acquire roleidentification, and make an emotional investment .”(151) ----- Role Enactment Role expectation Interactive behavior that defines the role itself. Maria grows to love the children in an effort to make them happy. -----Role NegotiationMaria: Dear Father, Managing interpersonalnow I know why You conflicts while memberssent me here. To help work out their roles.these children preparefor a new mother. And I -----Role Conflictpray this will become a The Baroness (Captainshappy family. future wife) and MariaMaria’s Specific Role Functions- Providing nurturing and emotional support
Relational Rule Negotiation“Rules maybe recalibrated explicitly and implicitly..rules may be openlynegotiated or changed as a result of various factors, such as a membersdissatisfaction.” (85) Captain von Trapp: Fraulein Maria, did I or did I not say that bedtime is to be strictly observed in this household? Maria: Yes, well the children were scared of the thunderstorm and... You did, sir. Captain von Trapp: And do you or do you not have trouble following these simple instructions? Maria: Only during thunderstorms, sir.Relational rules pattern - Maria will challenge the Captain for the good of the children.
Conflict Maria: Children cant do all the things theyre supposed to if they have to worry about spoiling their precious clothes. Captain : They havent complained yet. Maria: Well, they wouldnt dare! They love you too much. They *fear* you too much! Conflicts that result in Captain: I dont wish you to discuss my children in this manner. discussion and Maria: Well, youve got to hear from someone! compromise can often Youre never home long enough to know them. lead to positive Captain: I said I dont want to hear anymore from change(Coleman, Fine, you about my children! Gangong, Downs, & Maria: I know you dont, but youve got to! Oh, Pauk, 2001 (212) please, Captain, love them! Love them all!Maria verbalized the children’s need for love which brought awareness.
Family Rituals“Rituals convey a variety of meanings and messages in an emotionally powerfulpatterns; they remind members who they are, how much they care about eachother… These special meanings enacted in repetitive form, contribute significantlyto the establishment and preservation of a family’s identity.”(113) Maria shared music with the children as a way to communicate love to them and for them to share their need for love and acceptance from the Captain. Through this medium the Captain regained and unlocked feelings he had been guarding since his wifes death. Singing became a family ritual. They became the Von Trapp Family Singers
IntimacyKnowing information about another family member is not sufficient to developintimacy. Relational growth depends on meaningful communication about thatknowledge(Duck, Miell, & miell, 1984).(128) Constitutive Rules have transitioned from affection not displayed to physical expressions whereas the relational currency of touch often conveys feelings that a family member may not be able to put into words .
Marker EventCommitment implies intense singular energy directed towardsustaining a relationship…Personal devotion- ones internal devotionto relationships.(129)The Marriage solidified a life change & the creation of a new blended family.
The Von Trapp Family TransitionThe Von Trapp Single Parent Family- The Von Trapp Blended Family-OpenClosed families tend to regulate Family, boundaries tend to remainpredictability with fixed boundaries. flexible when members are encouragedSuch families interact less with the to seek experiences in the outside spaceoutside world. They require members and to return to the family with ideasto fulfill their needs and spend their the family may use if group consensustime and energies within the develops. (175)family.(175)A distinct evolution in communication resulted in a cohesive and flexible family unit
Galvin, Kathleen M., Carma Lee. Bylund, and Bernard J. Brommel. Family Communication: Cohesion and Change. Boston: Pearson Allyn and Bacon, 2012. Print. Sources Images: http://www.fanpop.com/spots/the-sound-of- music/images/4271501/title/sound-music-screencap Movie Quotes :http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059742/ Galvin, Kathleen M., Carma Lee. Bylund, and Bernard J. Brommel. Family Communication: Cohesion and Change. Boston: Pearson Allyn and Bacon, 2012. Print.