ERIC Number: ED368002
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Family Narrative: How Our Stories Shape Us.
Wolff, Leanne O.
Family stories, told and retold, become important vehicles in shaping the lives of family members. Knowing and understanding family narratives can aid students in understanding their families' histories, communication patterns, and meanings. The stories are a cohesive element for holding the family together, and may also capture the essence of the personality of members. Family therapists can use the stories, particularly in working with dysfunctional families, to learn more about the family and how it operates. Family myths have stabilizing effects on the family and communication patterns. In a family communication course, teacher and student alike can provide personal stories. Students may begin by interviewing an older relative, and continue to collect stories through the semester. When students have difficulty collecting stories, the instructor may assign a questionnaire. For illustrative purposes, the instructor should maintain a collection of stories from personal experience or family history. As an alternative, required readings may include published family stories. The use of family stories promotes family awareness, intergenerational sharing, an understanding of family and self, and appreciation for the uniqueness of the family. The family narrative is a part of personal heritage, uniting a family's past and its present and providing a link to future generations. Nineteen notes are included. Four appendixes (an informational letter about the course, an assignment, a memory book project, and a family questionnaire) are attached. (SG)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Family Therapy; Intergenerational Relationship
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (79th, Miami Beach, FL, November 18-21, 1993).