An interpersonal relationship (IR) is a close, powerful, or profound association between two or more people who share similar beliefs or objectives. IRs are inherently dynamic and a source of security for most people. The family is an example of an IR that I am currently in, consisting of interrelation with immediate relatives. Communication experts argue that families are characterized predominantly by their interactions rather than biological ties or traditions (Adler et al., 2018). There are varying degrees of connection between siblings, parents, and extended members making up this institution. Fundamentally, there are established norms for how children should interact with their elders and peers. Every relationship has standards and rules, thereby setting boundaries for the interplay.
Sibling positions are among the family relationship a strife faced by members. For example, the eldest child is expected to assume certain responsibilities and achieve success. In contrast, the younger ones are content to rely on their older siblings for virtually everything, including making simple life decisions. However, from what I have experienced, these characteristics are ineffective in the modern world. At some point, as a younger man, I could ascend to a leadership position in the family. I have realized that gender and birth order do not determine one’s identity in life. The second challenge that affects children in a family is couple conflict caused by the permission to disagree, justifying actions such as avoiding one’s partner without feeling guilty. The tension between the parents may cause anxiety in a child, and the child may be mistakenly identified as the problem-causing party. Fortunately, I have not undergone such disagreement or dispute in my household.
Interpersonal communication is the information exchange between two or more people. Most social researchers suggest that communication is the primary means of forming connections and helping shape who we are (Adler et al., 2018). Several theories, concepts, and skills have been implemented to resolve the problem of family conflict. Based on these ideologies, members are encouraged to discuss their feelings about various interplays. Generally, each individual is encouraged to listen to one another by keeping track of the other members’ reactions.
Family system theory (FST) can best describe the relation in most households. Every home has its distinct interaction and communication style (Adler et al., 2018). According to Adler et al. (2018), regardless of these distinctions, all families are systems or groupings whose members create a single group. Families, like all systems, have a set of traits that influence how members engage (Adler et al., 2018). As a result, FST makes accurate hypotheses about persons who are linked. Additionally, it anticipates and describes how individuals engage within a family structure and how the relationships vary from other external encounters. When members get together, they find new ways to express themselves (Adler et al., 2018). In particular, my sister was shy as a teenager, but now that she is married, she is confident and gregarious. Finally, the nuclear family is a component of broader subsystems that include extended relatives like in-laws, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. Many family therapy approaches are founded on FST to handle conflicts. Furthermore, they employ a variety of methodologies, tactics, and treatments to manage the relationship.
One of the concepts in family relationships is conversational orientation (CO). CO is the extent to which families prefer an open environment of debate on various issues (Adler et al., 2018). Households with a high CO converse openly, regularly, and spontaneously, with few restrictions on topic or time spent chatting. Essentially, those who value communication enjoy sharing stories and deepening their bonds. I usually easily discuss controversial subjects such as religion or politics with my family. For instance, during the current Ukraine-Russia war, we had differing views on whether the Ukrainian sky should be declared a no-fly zone. When debating on something, my siblings frequently solicit my viewpoint. In fact, I can tell them anything without fear of being assessed adversely. However, disagreements often develop when contentious topics are addressed. In contrast, individuals with a low CO rarely engage or express feelings with one another.
One of the highlighted crucial skills for family relationships is interpersonal. According to Adler et al. (2018), dialogue is beneficial in households, and children growing up in such settings have a more comprehensive range of interpersonal abilities in their future interactions. Conflict often arises in families due to rebellion, especially during developmental stages like adolescence. Parents find it challenging to interact with their children with the “leave me alone” perspective (Adler et al., 2018, p. 308). Families with a high level of flexibility are the most effective in navigating this challenging phase. For instance, when I became a teenager, my mother altered the types of discipline and responsibilities assigned to me. Establishing norms and obligations, reducing judgment during periods of curiosity, prioritizing care amid tension, and fostering accountability are all helpful strategies (Adler et al., 2018, p. 308). The competencies can allow caregivers to engage, converse, and work with teens effectively. Generally, compassion, active listening, and emotional maturity are examples of talents that can be applied to avoid disputes.
Adler, R. B., Rosenfeld, L. B., & Proctor, R. F. (2018). Interplay: The process of interpersonal communication (14th ed.). Oxford University Press.