Communicating Under Pressure

free essayThe stress families experience can be divided into internal and external. Whereas internal conflicts can be very different, external impacts that contribute to the stress perceived by the family members are usually limited.

The historical frame refers to the conditions of the country the family resides in. Usually, stress based on this frame means the involvement into war or military actions. As the United Stated participated in the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many American families whose members participated in the war experienced stress from deploying their relatives to those countries as well as meeting them back. Coming from China, I know that my country has a long history of a military conflict with Taiwan, but my family had never participated in it. Therefore, I cannot relate to the historical frame of stress.

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The economic framework also corresponds to the circumstances of the country the family lives in. Such economic upheavals as recession, financial crisis, and depression affect families greatly because they cause a loss of jobs and an increase in the unemployment rates. Even though each country has its own list of economic upheavals, the global financial crisis of 2008 influenced everyone. A large part of my family business was closed due to the situation. It led to the stress, but my family managed to overcome this problem together.

The developmental frame means that a family experiences a specific phase in life that is changing it. It can be a divorce, or a change of job, or immigration. In any case, this new stage requires the family to adjust to it and develop new mechanisms or ways of adaptation. In my family, we experienced it when I was young and my parents were constantly working. They wanted to make more money to help our family live better. As they were always busy, my grandparents had to take care of my brother and me. I barely saw my parents and it was stressful to me. I wanted more attention from them because I did now know if they loved me. Even though my grandparents explained me everything, I was eager to hear it from my parents.

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The hereditary framework relates to the health and diseases that run in the family. Knowing that there were numerous cases of a hereditary disease in the family, such as cancer or depression, family members begin worrying that they might potentially develop a disease. Thus, the family history serves as a stress factor. However, a lack of knowledge about the family history, for example, with the adopted children is also a source of stress because uncertainty unsettles not less than negative certainty. There are no hereditary diseases in my family, but my maternal grandparents had curable cancer. So, this problem is not currently on my mind.

The cultural frame allows people to rely on the customary habits and traditions and relieve stress from migration to another country. However, if an individual severs the ties with his or her culture it can be an additional stress. Thus, by maintaining my cultural ties, I helped myself to adapt to a new culture. Though, the American culture changed me as well. Before I came to the US, I was very shy and did not know how to express my emotions, especially in my family. Since I was influenced by the US culture and made American friends, I observed how explicit many Americans are in their emotions. So, I changed and I try to express my love to my family openly and directly.

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Among the internal context that affects the stress of one family, there are several important elements. Inasmuch as communication is crucial for how people deal with stress, family size is an important element. In my family, it was rather easy for us to communicate and not to lose any information. However, we were not very close, and often, we did not speak much. The rules and patterns of the family communication is another important factor. My father is strict, and he does not tolerate much talk about personal matters. This fact is another impact as the personalities of family members are important. An additional variable from the internal context of the family that may contribute to stress is the way family members perceive a stressful event. For example, if parents do not believe that their divorce is difficult for their children, they cannot help them cope with it.

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There are various factors that affect family. Apart from the internal factors, such as rules and patterns of the family’s communication, family size, and perception of a stressful event, there are frameworks of external context that include historical, economic, developmental, hereditary, and cultural patterns.