What do we mean by “family”
It is essential to define the term family around which this article revolves. The family is not just a group of people who live together and share blood ties and surnames. It is also more than an organization of individuals cooperating with each other.
The family must be understood as a community , as a group in which the relationships between the members have a profound affective character and are what make the difference in relation to other types of groups.
From this perspective, emotional reactions in the family context are a constant source of feedback on expected behaviors. In this sense, the family is an element of integration that can create spaces that allow members to develop a relationship of belonging and identification . This association is not casual or temporary, it is essential, as it defines the subject before itself and society.
Finally, it should be noted that the family is an organization in which its members must share common goals and objectives that generate unity and allow the distribution of roles and responsibilities. It is therefore a team.
The communicative models of family members vary. They must be taken into account, as there are important differences of generational origin and this can lead to misunderstandings, discrepancies and distance due to lack of connection and understanding, thus opening an abyss between parents and children.
This may be due, among many other reasons, to the fact that currently most parents belonging to the well-known “baby boom” (1946-1964) have grown up mainly with television as a medium and with the so-called “mass media” ( cinema, radio and press). The characteristic of all of them is that the communication style is informative, vertical and in one way, that is, one direction.
As different technologies convey certain values, this generation acquired the verticality and hierarchical organization of television discourse, acquiring the role of receiver , getting used to being passive agents in the act of communication.
the net generation
In turn, the respective children belong to the generation of new technologies ; some studies call it “net generation”. People of this generation are able to read visual images (more visually literate), they are able to shift their attention from one task to another, their response time is fast, and they are generally curious and independent people.
Although this generation has also grown up on television, their focus is on computers and cell phones. In the Internet environment, they move like a fish in water, especially on social media. In these environments, communicative discourse is horizontal, multitrack, active and immediate .
The impact of new technologies
We live daily with a series of devices that allow us to communicate with those who live far away, but, in turn, can distance us from the people closest to us . And we all experience scenes in which several family members remain absorbed looking at a screen without uttering a word, thus worsening the interpersonal relationships of coexistence.
Dialogue in interpersonal relationships and even more so in the family is important. Communication helps us to establish contact with people, to give or receive information, to express or understand what we think and to convey emotions. In short, communication brings us together and connects us through affection and empathy .
Obviously, there is no basic rule for family communication. Each family is a world and has a unique language. However, to improve communication or to generate fluid communication between its members and given the generational difference, it is advisable that there be willingness, interest and availability mainly by parents, in order to create a communication experienced intensely by all.
Improve family communication
What can we do to improve communication within the family nucleus? To reduce the distances between different generations and improve communication and, finally, live together, we can apply the following strategies.
1. Moments without technology
It is important to schedule several times throughout the day when the devices are not to be used . Those moments that happen around the table (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner) are ideal for promoting fluid communication.
2. Shared leisure
It’s important to look for moments to share entertainment . It could be something as simple as watching a movie that is suitable for all members of the family. This generates unity, not only physically, but also experimentally, avoiding the isolation of family members in different rooms. We encourage a possible dialogue or debate about the shared film.
3. Promote dialogue / debate
It is essential to take advantage of shared moments to exchange impressions, ideas and opinions on a topic that arouses interest. It is vital to promote the participative dialogue of each one of the members , always respecting the different contributions and allowing spaces of trust, security and belonging.
It is important to show interest in each family member by asking how their day went or what worries and / or happens. In this way, we encourage direct, personal and human communication and greater knowledge of the personal situation of each family member.
The family is essential and fundamental and, therefore, knowing each other’s concerns is essential to build a family united by affection and to know each other a lot.