Copyright 2023 Marline E. Pearson
What communication patterns did you experience growing up? People often repeat those same patterns as
adults, so it’s useful to examine them and identify which patterns you want to be the same for you and which
you want to be different.
For each item below, check the statement that comes closest to describing what things were like while you
were growing up. If your parents were separated, never together, or you have lived with each one at different
times, or if you lived in foster homes, choose the family situation that you think influenced you the most or in
which you spent the most time.
1. How well did members listen to each other, especially when difficult topics came up?
l Not well at all. Family members usually just shouted and argued.
l Sometimes not well, other times pretty well.
l Usually, we took time to listen to each other and understand each other’s perspectives.
2. Decisions were made:
l By one person, without regard to how others felt.
l By the kids, mostly without much parental guidance.
l By parents, but with input from kids.
3. Could family members disagree freely with one another? Did members value each
other’s opinions?
l Not really. Whoever had the loudest voice or most power got their way.
l Yes, most of the time, we could voice our disagreements or opinions freely.
l We did not like to disagree. Members just kept their opinions to themselves.
4. How common were put-downs in your family?
l Very prevalent. Members regularly trampled upon each other’s feelings and character.
l It happened, but we were called on it and usually got the message that it was not right.
l We knew we should avoid nasty put-downs.
5. Showing and expressing feelings:
l It was not okay.
l We were encouraged to express our feelings and usually felt accepted.
6. When we had conflicts or problems :
l We yelled and screamed at each other and never really solved them.
l One person typically stormed out, and we never talked about it later.
l After we cooled down, we usually got to talking about it and tried to solve it.
Communication Patterns—
What to Take, What to Change
to change
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