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What are the 4 Types of Family Communication Patterns?

Communication is vital in any relationship.

You have to consider every person’s view, opinion, stance, and reasoning. Each person’s personality, how they like to receive feedback, their age, and communication style are other factors that should be considered as well.

Healthy communication is essential regardless of how many people are involved in a conversation. It’s what helps drive conversations forward.

Although communication is key, no one said it was something that comes easily. Communication takes practice, time, and dedication. It’s something that can always be improved upon.

To kick things off, let’s start by talking about communication within your own home. Let’s learn more about the 4 types of family communication patterns.

Family Communication Patterns Theory

First things first: what exactly is a family communication pattern?

Family Communications Patterns Theory is the idea that family communications have a pattern of two components: conversational orientation and conformity orientation. Conversational orientation is the openness and regularity of communication between family members. Conformity orientation is the standard of beliefs, values, and attitudes that are passed on from parents to their children. The two components aren’t mutually exclusive and actually create four different types of family communication patterns.

1. Consensual

Firstly is the consensual family type. A consensual family type has high conversational and high conformity. In the consensual communication type, parents are the decision-makers within the family. That being said, they’re still interested in their children’s thoughts and feelings. When a decision is being made, a parent will take the time to explain their decisions and reasoning to their children so they better understand why a specific decision was made.

Communication and having conversations together as a family are important in this type of family communication style. Children are more likely to share the same beliefs and values as their parents.

2. Pluralistic

A pluralistic family type has high conversational and low conformity. Parents of this type encourage open and honest conversation. They don’t try to make decisions for their children. They actually encourage the entire family, kids included, to participate with them in the decision-making process.

family gathered around dinner table eatingConversations are important within this family type. Children learn important communication and decision-making skills and a greater sense of independence with this style.

3. Protective

A protective family type has low conversational and high conformity. In this family type, there is less of an emphasis on conversation and more of an emphasis on obedience. Children have an understanding that the decision-making should be left to their parents. They also understand that their parents don’t need to explain themselves or their decisions to their children.

Conversations within the family are less valued than children behaving, following rules, and respecting their parents.

4. Laissez-faire

And last but not least, the fourth and final family communication pattern is laissez-faire. A laissez-faire family type has low conversation as well as low conformity. This means there are fewer conversations, and the children can also have their own views and beliefs. Parents and children will make their own decisions.

Families aren’t as close or connected with this approach. Instead of parents being a big influence, children may seek support and guidance from their friends or their friends’ parents instead.

Next Steps

If you’re struggling with communicating effectively within you’re family, you’re not alone. Having a better understanding of the way you communicate is a great place to start. If you need a little extra help with improving the communication within your family, there’s no shame in asking for help. Working with a therapist may be exactly what you need to help reframe your mindset and approach to your communication pattern.

Reach out to us today to set up a consultation for family counselling.

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