Your Communication Style Affects Family Interaction

Article excerpt

Byline: Ken Potts

The "information economy" is one of the terms in vogue with media commentators and academicians, among others. They suggest that, in the not too distant future, economic well-being will be determined by the amount of information we have and how effectively we communicate it.

When it comes to families, that's not such a new idea. The fact is, family well-being has always been determined to some extent by how well we share, or fail to share, information within the family.

There are some family therapists who go so far as to maintain that poor communication is the foremost problem that troubled families face. These therapists suggest that once our methods of information sharing are strengthened, most family problems will take care of themselves.

I wouldn't go that far, but I am convinced that the failure to effectively share information plays a big part in the problems of the families coming to see me for help. Then once we have opened up such clogged communication channels, we find that we have taken a major step toward solving problems.

You would think that sharing information would just come naturally. After all, we've been doing it all our lives. Yet there are a number of reasons that it doesn't come all that easily. This week and for the next two, we'll discuss some of these reasons.

For starters, our style of thinking plays a role in how we share or don't share information. Some of us keep most of our thoughts to ourselves. We'll think through an experience or problem for hours or days, and not let anyone else in on what is going on until we have processed it ourselves. Then we may or may not decide to share our thoughts in a few, succinct, well thought-out sentences. …