Family communication is so important – the way our family communicates teaches us how to view ourselves and the world, as well as our role in family life and how to raise our children. If you were raised in a dysfunctional family, you likely experienced a lot of miscommunication and anger or hostility. Look at the following communication styles and try to determine which one you grew up with:

  • Consensual – families value open communication as well as conformity within the family. With this type of communication style, children are free to communicate freely their thoughts, opinions, or ideas, but the parents will be the final decision makers. Parents with this style often explain their reasons for their decisions and attempt to avoid conflict so that the hierarchy remains. A 2011 study conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota found that siblings develop the most closeness both emotionally and behaviorally in families that emphasize this style of communication.
  • Pluralistic – geared more towards conversation and away from conformity, families with this style believe that the children learn “life lessons” outside of the family and with others. Decisions are made as a family. Our Everyday Life, a website that provides information on entertainment, relationships and more, states that open conflict resolution is also encouraged, and family members learn to be independent while also having confidence in making decisions and handling disagreements appropriately.
  • Protective – families of this communication style do not value conversation and highly value conformity. A common phrase used with this style from parents is, “Because I said so.” Parents with this style typically do not provide reasoning for their decisions, and conflict doesn’t often occur because children are expected to follow the family norm.
  • Laissez-faire – value is placed on neither conversation nor conformity. Family members are not emotionally connected to one another, and parents do not have an investment in the decisions their children make. Conflicts are rare in this communication style, because everyone can do what they wish. However, many children do not find confidence in their decision-making abilities.

Recognizing the style of communication your family used while you were growing up could provide you with a lot of insight and knowledge on current conflict patterns and more.

New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery centers. Many people who experience a mental disorder and/or substance abuse have derived emotional problems relating to their childhood. If you have been coping through substance use and are ready to seek help, call us today at 888-316-3665 for a consultation.



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