Family Collage: “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” By: Pete Hyatt
Family can be deﬁned as networksof people who share their lives overlong periods of time bound by ties ofmarriage, blood, law, or commitmentwho consider themselves as familyand share a signiﬁcant history andanticipated future of functioning as afamily. I originally came from a two-parent biological family. After 20years of marriage my parentsdivorced. My father has since re-married and now I have a blendedfamily.
! Each family has a theme. A theme can be viewed as a pattern of feelings, motives, fantasies, and conventionalized understandings grouped around a particular form in the personalities of individual members. “You can always depend on family” was a theme my father instilled in me andmy siblings as we grew up. We are a very close group, everyone keeps in touch,visits one another frequently, and everyone knows that a family member can berelied upon. Themes are an important part of understanding the communicationbehavior of a family.
Rituals A family ritual is deﬁned as a voluntary, recurring patterned communication event whose jointly enacted performance by family members pays homage to what they regard as sacred, thereby producing and reproducing a family!s identity.My family is a hockey family. Everyone in my family is adie hard New York Rangers fan. It has become traditionfor us to get together for a few games a year and wemake lots of food and have fun together. We have beenhaving these “Ranger Parties” for the last 15 years.
Family Roles! Each member of my family has a speciﬁc role. These recurring patterns of behavior have developed over the years. These roles exist only within the family dynamic.! My dad is the provider of the basic resources, he has worked multiple jobs over the years to provide for the family.! My mother provides family management and kinship maintenance. She is the one who keeps us connected with our extended family in New York.! My stepmother provides nurturing and emotional support. She takes care of my younger brother and sister and performs many traditionally domestic tasks. She is a great cook, and everyone looks forward to visiting because we know we are going to get a great meal!
Communication and Power! The dynamic of one-up and one-down positions existed in both of my father!s marriages. In each marriage he was the one-up person or the one who attempts to exercise more power control over another. In each marriage my mother and step mother are the one-down person or the one who accepts the control implied from my father.! As kids we we were in the one-down position but as we have grown up we take on new roles.
Communication Patterns! Cohesion is deﬁned as the emotional bonding that family members experience with each other and includes concepts of “emotional bonding, boundaries, coalitions, time, space, friends, decision-making, interests and recreation”.! My family!s cohesion levels are a mix of… ! Connected: “family members experience emotional independence as well as some sense of involvement and belonging” ! Cohesive: “family members strive for emotional closeness, loyalty, and togetherness with emphasis on some individuality.
Conﬂict ! Conﬂict is an express struggle between at least two interdependent parties, who perceive in compatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from the other party in achieving their goals. ! Conﬂict naturally exists in any family and my family is no exception. Because we are a blended family, conﬂict arises between my father and mother concerning issues within the family. Because my siblings and I are older, we also have opinions about how the family dynamic should be and that can create additional conﬂict.
Decision Making! Decision making is the process by which family members makes choices, reach judgments or arrive at solutions that end uncertainty.! My dad has always be the primary decision maker for our family. He set the rules for my siblings and I to follow. It can be a tough role, being the decision maker, each decision will have an effect on each family member, and often will have different effects on different members.
Commitment ! Commitment implies intense singular energy directed toward sustaining a relationship. Many couples view commitment as a lifetime promise to stay in the marriage. ! My ﬁancée and I are getting ready to start our own family. In our relationship there is a high level of personal dedication, which involves one!s internal devotion to the relationship.