A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words By: Caitlyn Hallowell
Introduction Featuring:Pamela: Mother, Head of householdCaitlyn: ME (22)Logan: The rebel (17)Hannah: The baby of the family (14)Winston: The family dog
Definition“Generally, we refer to families as networks ofpeople who share their lives over long periods oftime bound by ties of marriage, blood, law, orcommitment, legal or otherwise, who considerthemselves as family and share a significant historyand anticipated future functioning as a family”(Galvin,Bylund & Brommel, 2012, p.8)
Family TypeMy family would be classified as a single-parent family. My mom isunmarried and resides in Gardiner, Maine with my younger siblings.Even though my mom is the primary provider, our family receives atremendous amount of help and support from members of ourextended family (more specifically, my aunts, Kathryn and Linda).
Communication Functionso The Circumplex model of marital and family systems“Two central dimensions of family behavior, or family operations are at the core ofthe model: family cohesion and family adaptability” (Galvin,Bylund & Brommel,2012, p.8)o CohesionMy family is very close, connected and enjoys spending time together. However, eachmember also has their own emotional independence.o AdaptabilityChange is constant and things rarely always stay the same in my family. Because ofthis, we have learned to be “flexible” with our roles, rules and decision making.
Family-of-Origin“People often create relationships and marriages similar to that oftheir parents because they enact a family pattern” (Galvin,Bylund & Brommel, 2012, p.46) My whole family is extremely close and each member (including extended) has learned the importance of valuing one another. My mom is exceptionally close with her four sisters. Understanding her relational patterns and her overall developed relationships with them has helped shape the relationships that my siblings and I have with each other.
For Example…Here are some photographs that showthe created relationships with ourextended family. We are carefree,fun and absolutely RIDICULOUS!
Systems Perspective Interdependence:“Interdependence serves as the centerpiece of a system” (Galvin,Bylund & Brommel, 2012, p.59)o Because my family is so dependent on my mom, the primary provider, a simple change made by her will ultimately result in a change made by every other member of our system (my siblings and me). Wholeness:“A family systems approach assumes that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” (Galvin,Bylund & Brommel, 2012, p.59).o When we are all together in one place, we function best. This is because all of our behaviors arrive from the many interactions with each particular member.
Family Themes “Essentially, themes represent a fundamental view of realityand a way of dealing with this view” (Galvin,Bylund & Brommel, 2012, p.40).o Our particular theme: You can depend only on your family. This is demonstrated by our extreme closeness and constant support.
Rituals“A family ritual is broadly defined as a voluntary,recurring patterned communication event whose jointlyenacted performance by family members pays homage towhat they regard as sacred, thereby producing andreproducing a family’s identity and web of socialrelations” (Galvin,Bylund & Brommel, 2012, p.114).o Our family rituals surface mostly during the holidays and when relatives are visiting from far distances. Also, we play board games…a lot. We LOVE them! Our favorites are Taboo and Pictionary.
Rituals Cont.… My mom has developed this weird habit of taking pictures of our feet everywhere we go. It gets annoying but she never forgets to snap a picture. We have been doing this for years. It is definitely a ritual now.Every year we have a pumpkincarving party. We carve ourpumpkins with power tools…Odd,I know, but it works SO well! Itsbecome a ritual now.
Family RolesEach member of a family has a role. My mom by farhas the hardest and the most important role.However, she succeeds at nurturing her children,providing support, empathy and managing our dailyneeds. I can’t imagine life without her!
Above and BeyondBesides fulfilling her normal, everyday roles…she likes togo above and beyond to ensure our happiness. Forexample---this past September she bought our wholefamily plane tickets to California. My extended family alsojoined us and together, we all went to Hollywood,Disneyland and Venice Beach.
Roles Cont.…Myself (daughter): I am the outspoken and funfamily member. If I have something to say, Isay it. I am also pretty funny…I think : )Logan (son): Logan gets into a lot of trouble.So because of him, there usually is never a dullmoment in our family.Hannah (daughter): Hannah is the baby of thefamily…and I would also say the princess. Sheis very spoiled but very smart.
Family Typology Pluralistic families are high in conversation orientation and low in conformity. They have opencommunication and emotional supportiveness withintheir families. This is us! Sometimes I think we mightbe a little too open because we talk about everything.
Decision Making“Decision making is the process by which family members make choices, reach judgments, or arrive at solutions that end uncertainty” (Galvin,Bylund & Brommel, 2012, p.194).My mom makes the majority of the decisions that relate to Hannah and Logan, but it usually done using consensus. This allows for compromise and flexibility with them.Because I am 22 and live on my own, I am responsible formy own decision making…although I still seek input from my mom. Mom knows best!
Conflict“ From a communication perspective, interpersonal conflictmay be viewed as an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties, who perceive incompatible goals, scarce sources, and interference from the other party in achieving their goals” (Galvin,Bylund & Brommel, 2012, p.210). o My family experiences a high level of conflict. We all have similar personalities and in general, are a very loud family. o In order to resolve our conflicts we use collaboration and compromise.
Work CitedGalvin, K., Bylund, C., & Brommel, B. (2012). Family Communication Cohesion and Change. (8 ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.