By the end of this post, the reader should be able to:

·         Explain communication and its importance.

·         Describe the communication process.

·         Explain the need to communicate effectively in the family.

Verbal communication


It is the transfer of information from one person to another or a group of people and or one group to another. It is the transmission of information so that persons affected receive and understand it.

It is the process of sending and receiving messages. It involves the sharing of ideas and feelings with other people. Messages are sent through the use of verbal and non-verbal language. Communication is what the receiver understands, not what the sender says.


Verbal communication

Verbal communication takes the form of meetings, interviews, speeches, informal contact lectures, etc. It involves the use of telephone, public address systems, inter communications systems. It begins with selecting the right words to express oneself. To make verbal communication effective, one must think before you talk, you must speak precisely and clearly, think about those you are talking to (audience) etc.


Non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication includes all communications which do not involve the use of words either verbal or written form. It is the use of symbols, gestures or facial expressions to send messages. It is the only alternative means of communication especially when the sender and receiver cannot use a common language.


Importance of Communication in the Family

 (i) It enables more than one person to contribute to planning and implementing activities in the family to achieve family goals. Effective communication makes it possible for every member of the family to make an input during planning and therefore taking active part in the implementation of plans.

(ii) Communication is a resource that can be used daily to increase and improve upon the use of other resources. Through communication, family members are able to determine how to use resources available to achieve their goals.

(iii) Communication strengthens family relationships. It helps bring family members together to live peacefully. Conflicts can therefore be easily resolved.

(iv) It contributes to success in the home and at the work place. Through communication family members get to know his/her role or the activities he/she must perform to achieve family goals.

(v) It also contributes to satisfying family life. Communication makes family

members become fulfilled and satisfied with life.

(vi) Communication helps family members to share in decision making to solve problems more effectively.

(vii) Family relationship is strengthened through effective communication. This is because family meetings or discussions can be an opportunity to improve relationships.


The Communication Process

For communication to take place a person must:

(i)   Receive the message.

(ii) Understand the meaning of the message.

(iii)  Relate the message to past experiences. 

(iv) And respond appropriately.


Barriers to communication

There are several kinds of barriers that may prevent messages from being exchanged within the family or between family members.

Internal barriers 

Internal barriers are those factors within the individual that could limit or hinder effective communication. They include:

(i) Sex, age and status of the individual in the family: These variables determine when and how an individual communicates in the family. Inferiority complex due to one's age and status in the family can hinder effective communication.

(ii) Values: Differences in value systems of individuals in a family can affect effective communication.

(iii) Perception and understanding: People attribute different meanings to words even when they speak the same language. The way people perceive and understand messages may sometimes be different from the intended meaning.

(iv) Language barrier: Where people or individuals do not speak or understand the same language, it will be difficult if not impossible for them to communicate.

(v) Distortion: Information may be distorted or omitted by the sender.

(vi) Where there is conflict between individuals in the family, information may be withdrawn or withheld.

(vii) Semantic problems: The way people perceive and understand messages may be different from the intended meaning of the message therefore hindering the communication process.


External barriers

External barriers in communication are things that can impede communication that we don't necessarily have control over. 

(i) Open family system: This allows elements or situations outside the family influence it. It may even welcome external influences.

 (ii) Semi-closed family system: This system partially isolates its members from the environment. It is somehow isolated and self-contained.


The Instances When Communication Needs to be Improved

(i) When there are conflicts in the family.

(ii) When there is imbalance in the use of resources. e.g time, money.

(iii) When relationships are not harmonious among family members.

(iv) If management skills are lacking in the family.


Guidelines for Effective Communication

(i) Send clear messages.

(ii) Be considerate of others feelings, choose words carefully to avoid offending others.

(iii) Watch your tone or voice. People are more likely to respond to a pleasant tone or voice.

(iv) Maintain eye contact. Look directly to your listeners.

(v) Develop good conversation skills, encourage people to talk.

(vi) Use good manners.

(vii) Be an active listener.

(viii) Open communication among family members.


Importance of open communication in the family

i. All family members are involved in decision-making ii. Open communication helps in achieving good family interpersonal relationships.

iii. Makes it possible for all family members to be part of the planning for and implementing the use of family resources in achieving family goals.



1.a. What is communication?

b. Outline five importance of communication to the family

2. State five barriers to effective communication in the family.

3. Explain five guidelines for effective communication.

4.a. Define communication

b. Explain four reasons why communication is important in family living

c. State the communication process

d. Explain four internal barriers to communication

e. State three instances that will require communication to be improved in the family.

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