Maintaining family ties
As you read this chapter, you may find yourself looking for some magic formula, some specific set of communication patterns or skills that will enable you family to reach the zenith of family life. You should know by now that you won’t encounter any such formula in this book. The interpersonal communication patterns that leat to success or failure are many, and their creation and variety should by a source of celebration as much as sorrow.in fact many family therapists and researcher agree that the myth of the ideal family is a problem in itself.
What is the myth? You probably know it well. The ideal family inhabits a home where stress rarely occurrs. Members of the family can an do talk to one another about
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We prefer to use a somewhat broader definition that includes groups of people who thing of themselves as “family” even though they may not be related by blood or marriage. Kathleen galvin and bernard brommel define the family as “a network of people who life together over long periods of time bound by ties of marriage, blood, or commitment, legal or otherwise. Social scientists are fond of describing families as “system” because this metaphor draws cur attetion to how show members of an organized uniit are affected by changes in one or more of the other parts of the system. Like most human system, a amily can by seen as a relatively organized collection of interdependent parts ( e.g., mom, stepad, brother, sister, beby, and wacky aunt ) that act together as a whole unit. Family rules and interaction may be cbserved at the level of the whole unit (“as a family, we always had a big Sunday dinner at grandma’s she was the only one with place settings for 24) or at the level of one its many subsystem (“annie and chris always fought over whose turn it was to do the dishes”). Subsystm many very from the hus band-wife, parent-child, or brother-sister dyad to temporary coalitions formed by one group of family members against another. Something to remember about a family as a system is that each family member is one of its parts. And even though each part is a unique individual, he or she is also functioning component of the whole system. As in any