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What is family?
Scholars would define it as: a group of interconnected individuals with a common history and experiences whose members communicate their identity (as a family) to others (Goen, 2006)
Connection can be legal, biological, or just decided. Their has to be some connection or something in common
This is not the same way our legal system “does” family
Problem: We cannot merely look at another group of people and say “this is a family”
- States set family law. This means that we have
- 50 sets of family law.
- Suppose your sibling from another state has a
- child that gets taken into protective custody. Someone from that state will
- take care of the child. If you wanted to get the kid, it would take 6-9 months
Why study families?
- labeling family types is a communicative issue.
- family types determine who individuals communicate with in their families.
- social, political, and policy implications
Types of families
- single parent
nuclear family type
- heterosexual married couple with biological children who live with them (~7-10%)
- We are not nuclear families anymore because we don't live with our parents
binuclear family type
2 nuclear type families stemming from 1 divorced nuclear family that both function somewhat as nuclear separately
extended family type
- cousins, grandparents, sometimes live together (mostly in other cultures)
- once married, the woman tends to become more involved in the husband's family more than her own
step family type
- has been around for a long time but was never really talked about
- step parents/children/siblings
boomerang family type
child comes back after they left, sometimes even with their own family/children
single parent family type
- single mother or father, more common than households with two parents
- becoming much more common
foster/adoptive family type
cannot disinherit them, but you can disinherit your biological child
gay/lesbian family type
- more common, more research is being done on this
- research tends to show that there are few to no bad consequences for children that are raised in these families. no empirical evidence against it
Family Systems Theory
- von Bertalanffy - General Systems Theory
Wholeness (family systems theory element)
"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts," cannot look at an individual communication between certain individuals, must look at the overall communication
Interdependence (family systems theory element)
anything that happens to one part of the system effects every other part of the system
Hierarchy (family systems theory element)
- families are embedded within other systems
- the housing lottery situation could have effected this class if someone is preoccupied with it instead of focusing in class
Boundaries (family systems theory element)
- cannot have a completely open or closed system
- like a cell membrane allowing certain things through but not others.
- ie- school sending home a letter about a child
calibration (family systems theory element)
- systems have rules for how they operate that develop over time
- some are formal or informal, implied or explicit
- keep changing rules to achieve "homeostasis" or equifinality
equifinality (family systems theory element)
just because we take different routes doesn't mean we don't arrive at the same place. "equal finality/paths" any path that is functional or can get us to the end state
Family Communication Patterns Theory (FCP)
- David Ritchie & Mary Anne Fitzpatrick (1991)
- "Social Cognitive Theory"- explains parents' and children's perceptions of how they communicate with each other
- Two dimensional:
- conformity: extent to which children are expected to hold same views as the parents
- conversation: extent to which children are expected to hold the same views as parents
- FCP Model
- Laissez-Faire: low conformity, low
- conversation. These families don’t often discuss major issues. Children are
- forming their own opinion, parents are not forcing/discussing their views
- on/with the child. Have conversation, just not as frequent as other families. Children
- have problems following rules in school, but also end up usually being very
- creative, independent thinkers.
- Protective: high conformity, low
- conversation. Not discussing many issues because no reason to. Parents expect
- children to conform to their views. These children often excel educationally
- because they’ve learned to accept rules. Downside = if children ever disagree
- with their parents, they may experience very open conflict/rebellion.
- Consensual: high conformity, high
- conversation. Although parents expect that children will accept their views,
- they are open to discussing all of those issues with their children. At the end
- of the day, the child has to come to form the opinion of the parent.
- Pluralistic: low conformity, high
- conversation. Can talk about anything, but can form own opinions.
What are the characteristics of family stories?
- Family as Subject
- Significance over plot
- Name practices of authority
What does "Family as Subject" mean as a characteristic of family stories?
may be a member of the family as the subject
What does "significance over plot" mean as a characteristic of family stories?
significance is more important than having a plot, the reason behind the story is more important than it being just interesting
What does "name practices of control and authority" mean as a characteristic of characteristics of family stories?
- narrative asymmetry
- narrative rights: focuses on who has the ability to tell the story within the family
- narrative times: focuses on when it occurs
- narrative reception: focuses on who gets to hear this story
What are the 5 functions of family stories?
- creating links among past, present, and future - knowing things about relatives from the past, forming connections
- building identity
- teaching lessons, values, and morals
- establish boundaries - who is or is not in the family, what is acceptable behavior not
- reflecting developmental tasks - help us or our children understand what is going on in the story
What are the 4 types of family stories?
- courtship stories
- birth/entrance stories
- survival stories
- marginal stories
how your parents became a couple
how people got into this family. were you planned or a surprise
how people got through a trying time or event
not consistent in all families but in some. told within the context of minority families (socioeconomic, religious, racial background). tells how to handle scenarios
Stage Theory (Knapp & Vangelisti's Stages of Relational Development)
- mutually exclusive (not linear, typically only in 1 at a time)
- 1. Escalation
- 2. Commitment
- 3. De-Escalation
3 stages of escalation in relational development
Initiating: am i attracted to this person? should I talk to them? "Hi, how ya doin?"
Experimenting: search for commonality. "question-asking" stage. ritualistic, judgmental. continues if commonality is found. "So where are you from? What classes are you taking? What do you do for a living?"
Intensifying: Increase in self-disclosure. use of "we" and inside jokes. nicknames. first direct expressions of commitment. means connection. "I think I really like you"
3 stages of escalation in relational commitment
- Integrating: individuals become one, people know they're a unit. adopt similar mannerisms and speech patterns. exchange symbols of ownership (jackets, clothing). May acquire common property (buying a puppy together, establish permanence). "I feel so much a part of you. Yeah, we are like one person"
- Bonding: Public commitment (ritual, marriage, moving in together, procreation). "I want to be with you always. Let's get married"
- Differentiating: highlight differences that exist in the relationship, seek individualism, tension, conflict, and argument develop. bicker over little things. natural in all relationships. "I just don't like large parties. Sometimes I just don't understand you"
3 stages of escalation in relational de-escalation
- Circumscribing: limitation is key, in terms of amount and depth of convo. focus convo on safe topics to avoid arguments. Relationship appears "normal" to others. Possible to return to a committed state. "Did you have a good time on your trip? When will dinner be ready?"
- Stagnating: individuals appear to be strangers. Outsiders will know something is wrong. No need to talk - partners know what the other will say. Plays out convo in our head (which we suck at doing). "What's there to talk about? I know what you're going to say"
- Avoiding: avoid face to face interaction at all cost. may rely on mediated communication or third party. Can still go back to a committed state. "I'm really busy right now, I don't know if I'll have time to talk to you"
- Terminating: goal is to sever all ties (or as much as possible). Sometimes need third party (judge or attorney). must always occur face to face for closure. serious work to do if you ever want to reach a committed state again. "I'm leaving you. don't even try to call me. never talk to me again"
Social Exchange Theories
- Family of Theories
- Economic Model of Relationships
- Interdependence Theory
- Relational outcome = rewards - costs. comparison level (CL)- standard for what other relationships I could have that exist.
- comparison level of alternatives (CLalt)- standard for what other relationships I could have that exist
- neither good nor bad
- an essential part of relationships
- "The interaction of interdependent people who perceive incompatible goals and interference from each other in achieving those goals"
Types of conflict
- Image Conflicts: regarding self-presentation,
- how you present yourself.
- Content Conflicts: conflicts that are independent of the people. Over a particular issue
- Value Conflict: over whether or not something is right or wrong
- Relational Conflicts: conflict over the relationship itself. Frequently masquerade as another type of conflict. Instead of arguing about the actual issue, we argue about something else.
Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Modes
- Competing: Highly assertive, not really cooperative. Willing to win at relatively extreme costs. Not so considerate of the other person’s feelings.
- Avoiding: Low assertiveness, low cooperation. Not dealing with conflict/tension. Can be healthy conflict behavior in the short term, but may be detrimental in the long run.
- Accommodating: High cooperation, low assertiveness. Typically lets the other person win. Won’t necessarily push their argument or force their opinion, usually goes with what the other person wants to do. Can be good in the short term but frustrating in the long run.
- Collaborating: High assertiveness, high cooperation. Everyone expresses his or her views and works together to arrive at a solution that works for everyone.
- Compromise: midrange assertive/cooperative.
Types of power
- Referent: power that you have because people like you or want to be like you. Celebrities, professional athletes, Beyoncé.
- Legitimate: from a job or position. Police officer.
- Expert (Information): Might be based on credentials, experience, or knowledge.
- Persuasive: communication skills that allow you to convince. Some people just have it, others don’t.
- Reward: If you will do x, I will give you y.
- Coercive: Either you do this, or you will be punished.
- Nonassertive: individuals who do not want to express their thoughts and feelings. Look for this in relationships.
- Aggressive: Express wants, needs, and desires, and advocate for these at the expense of the other person. Shows that you do not value the other person. Often use coercion.
- Assertive: Clear, honest, and direct. Provide people with information that they need. Open to other people’s opinions. Typically the best way of expressing oneself.
Problematic Conflict Behaviors
- Self-enhancing thoughts
- destructive messages (sudden-death, dirty secrets)
- Serial Arguments
- Physical Violence (chilling effect)
- Unsolvable Disputes
When we assume that any information that is out there supports our position and contradicts our partner’s position. Very limited way of looking at things.
- Expression of negative thoughts to the other
- person, rather than attempting to address the conflict in a productive fashion.
- If not checked, often lead to…
- Sudden-Death Statements: In conflict, declare end of relationship. Most people don’t mean these when they say them. Changes the dynamic of the conflict, because engaging in conflict may lead to the end of this relationship. The speaker may know that they do not actually mean it, but the partner may not know.
- Dirty Secrets: Honest statements that we have about our partner that we keep hidden to protect our partner’s feelings, but these things come out in the context of an argument, usually in anger.
- Quite common in relationships. Repetitive
- arguments. Typically means that we haven’t resolved the problem at all and establishes a pattern of conflict behavior. People do not know how to break this pattern. Often requires intervention of a third party or a traumatic event to happen.
- Demand-Withdrawal Pattern: One partner competes, other partner avoids.
- When individuals are programmed to think that
- this is a normative way to address conflict. Things escalate to this point when people do not know how to properly handle conflict.
- Chilling Effect: One person doesn’t engage in the conflict for fear of some sort of violent reaction. Can suppress conflict in a relationship that can create additional problems for us in the context of the relationship.
- Some problems just cannot be resolved. These
- become the basis for serial arguments. Start using other problematic behaviors to attempt to solve something that cannot be solved.
Short Term conflict resolutions
- Separation: Physically removing oneself from a conflict situation
- Domination: One person wins, other person loses. Sometimes when something needs to be addressed quickly
- Compromise: short term decision, usually come back and address it later.
- Integrative Agreements: Most partners work together to come up with a solution. Preserves the goal for both parties in the situation. Usually tend to be more creative but are harder to achieve in the short term, tend to require more work.
- Structural Improvements: Change something about the structure of the relationship, in order to prevent potential conflict from occurring in the future
Long term conflict resolutions
: Typically only good for short term. Does not address the problem of incompatible goals, just pushing the conflict further down the road. Sometimes this is good for us. Not the best for long term resolution because it really doesn’t resolve anything.
- Reactivity: Pretty common. Rather than attempting to address the conflict itself, we respond by either having an emotional explosion or go negative by engaging in criticisms or complaints about our partners (lashing out)
- Collaborative Approaches: involve both people in the conflict actively working together to address whatever the perceived differences and goals. May work over the long term, we may hear things that we do not want to hear about ourselves. Requires more than just recognition, but requires us being able to actively engage with the other person when we recognize that we are in conflict
Complete apologies include:
- -Acknowledgement of the severity of the offense
- -Acceptance of responsibility for the offense
- -Disparagement of the “bad self” who committed
- the act
- -Offer some sort of penitence or restitution (There is not always something that can be done)
- to make up for what happened
- -Promise of future appropriate behavior (Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, but that
- this will not be thrown back in the person’s face in a later conflict)
What is social influence?
how we shape/change people, alter behavior, includes compliance gaining behavior, persuasion, manipulation, and coercion
Basic strategies of persuasion
- Foot in the door: Ask for a request that is less than what you actually want, then come back with your actual request if the person says yes to the lesser request.
- Wants to go to LA. Says “I want to go out of town for the weekend. Want to go to DC this
- weekend?” to test the waters and see if they’re open to just going somewhere. Then asks about LA.
- Door in the face: Ask a request that is so much more than what you really want, and then ask what YOU want to do because now it seems so much more reasonable.
- "Wants to go to LA. Goes to partner and says “I’d really like to go out of town this weekend. Want to go to Beijing?”
- Norm of Reciprocity: Bargaining to get
- what you want
- “If you do this, I’ll do that”
- Social Validation Principle: Convincing
- someone to do what we want based on what other people are doing. Works more when the other person has the same power
- “Her parents let her do it, why can’t I?”
- “Everyone else is going to the movies Friday, want to go?”
- Commitment: If you have a commitment to
- someone or some organization, you are more likely to be persuaded by them
- Lowballing: Getting an agreement before you
- give all of the details
- Authority Principle: An authoritative
- figure asking for something and you comply because of their authority
- Scarcity Principle: Claiming that the
- opportunity is fleeting.
Marwell and Schmitt's Typology of Influence
: essentially a reward. If you do what I want, I will give you some sort of reward
: If you don’t comply, I will punish you.
- Expertise (Positive): If you comply with whatever I want, you will be rewarded because that is the nature of things/life. “If you raise your grades, your GPA will be good enough to get you into college”
- Expertise (Negative): If you do not comply, you will be punished because that is the nature of things/life. “If you do not raise your grades, your GPA will be too low to get into college”
- Liking: Want to put the person in a good mood so that they are more likely to comply with whatever request we have. Asking your parents for money and being very pleasant when you ask
- Pre-Giving: reward the person before you ask for what you want. Makes you feel obligated to do whatever they ask. Parents say they’ve increased your monthly allowance, so you need to study more.
- Aversive Stimulation: Punishment that occurs over a longer period of time with the goal of punishing you until you comply with what I want. Parents say that you cannot use the car until you get your grades up
- Debt: Recalling what you have done in the past when asking for what you want. Sometimes invokes guilt. Parents saying that they sacrificed a lot for you to give you an education so you owe them
- Moral Appeal: It is morally wrong to not comply with my request. “If you don’t improve your grades, you are wasting time and money and a spot that could’ve been given to someone who deserved it”. “There’s starving kids in Africa, finish your food”
- Self-Feeling (positive): If you do this, you’ll feel better about yourself
- Self-Feeling (negative): If you do not do this, you will feel worse about yourself
- Altercasting (positive): “If you were a good person, you would do this”. “Mature and intelligent people would improve their grades”
- Altercasting (negative): “Only a bad person with bad qualities would not comply with this”. “Childish immature and dumb people would not improve their grades”
: I need this, therefore you should do this for me. Asking for a favor. “I want you to improve your grades as a personal favor to me”
- Esteem (positive): If you comply, people will think better of you. If you improve your grades, the entire family will be proud of you
- Esteem (negative): If you don’t comply, people will think worse of you. If you don’t improve your grades, the entire family will be disappointed because we know you can do better