Communication is a fundamental, basic life skill. These skills are acquired by individuals through learning in school. Communication is a diverse process that allows human beings to interact with the environment and themselves. Therefore, people derive happiness, satisfaction and approval from others based on how they communicate. As a result, we can not ignore the relevance of communication skills because they determine whether we achieve goals in life or not (Fanning, 1995). Communication in a family, that is, between parents and children is particularly essential as it helps to maintain a healthy family relationship and children discipline. In the movie “Parent trap”, two girls who happen to be identical twins are separated at their birth when their parent’s divorce. Coincidentally, the two meet when they are 11years old at a summer camp and begin to plan for their parent’s reunion (Meyers et al, 1998).
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Listening blocks are things or factors that hinder us from listening to what others are saying. This impedes effective communication because people do not often express their real feelings. In the movie, the Parent Trap, different listening blocks have been used including the following; threatening, moralizing, lecturing, Ineffective praising, pitying, shaming, interrogating, and denying.
This has been used in the parent trap whereby, Nick, the twin father tries to explain to her daughter Annie what is expected from her without realizing the girl she is talking to is Hallie and not Anne.
Threatening is a listening block where the instructor or the speaker instead of talking about the issues that are at hand or that they feel uncomfortable about, talk about dangerous things they plan to do if their decisions or suggestions are not considered (Fanning, 1995). This is seen when Meredith threatens the girls that when she gets married they are going to have a rough time, instead of dealing with the issue of making them like and accept her (Meyers et al, 1998).
Principles of Expression for Children
In every family or society, we have children as the backbone in so far as communication is concerned. Children in most cases imitate how the older members of society express themselves, determining the overall behavior of that society. As a result, Cecil, Weiss, and Richard have the view that, “To achieve meaningful communication pattern children are supposed to be brought up in an environment which is free from ambiguity, unfaithfulness, mistrust, and understanding and above all from pretense” (Fanning, 1995).
Specificity implies the expression of one’s hidden emotions, wants ideas and observations (Riski, (2002). People may be unable to say what they feel like and think because of fear or lack of information. In the Parent Trap movie, there is specificity when Hallie asks her mother why they divorced. Her mother explains that while she wanted to stay in California her husband preferred London. Hallie later asks whether that was why they broke up (Meyers et al, 1998). Hallie speaks out her mind on what she is thinking. Lack of specificity in communication hinders intimacy or closeness.
Immediacy means prompt communication, as opposed to delayed communication (Fanning, 1995). Sometimes, when people are unhappy, their feelings need to be addressed as soon as possible to avoid frustrations or expressions aggressively. In the parent trap, Hallie and Annie in the summer camp dislike each other when they first meet. However, after they are punished they discover they have a lot in common. For example, they find out they share the same birth dates and same parents (Meyers et al, 1998). They developed an interest to know their parents in the process.
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Family Communication Disorders
Communication disorders are commonly inherited, and they run through the family, it is, therefore, hard to change this disorder because it is genetically passed on to the lineage of the family (Fanning, 1995).
This disorder is a result of the deletion of part of chromosome 22. The disorder is genetically caused and among the symptoms are; learning difficulties and loss of hearing (Riski, 2002). This affects the communication behavior of an individual. The disorder has no treatment, and as a result, early detection is necessary so precautionary measures like vaccination can be taken.
Substitution can be regarded as a communication disorder if syllables or sounds produced are incorrect and so incomprehensible to listeners. People with an articulation problem sometimes pronounce words that sound like it’s a baby talking, that is, “many young children do mispronounce sounds, syllables, and words” (Riski, 2002). Among the causes of this disorder are difficulties in hearing or the weakening of oral muscles.
Covert Manipulation Strategies
A covert manipulation strategy is a scheme that one implores to control somebody. This may be by use of the facial expression, nonverbal gesture, shaming, using of the blame game, making of various excuses or simply acting innocent. Skilled manipulators will do anything to intimidate others into doing things their way (Fanning, 1995). For instance, in the Parent Trap, the twins Hallie and Annie manipulate their parents into meeting against their will. They strategize on how to bring them together (Riski, 2002). They first impersonate each other and switch positions at the end of the summer camp. For instance, Anne tells her father, “I missed you Dad!” She manipulated him into thinking she was Hallie (Meyers et al, 1998). In addition, they organize for their parents to meet in a hotel where they see each other after a mixup of some kind. It is after the mixup that they come to learn of the switch. The plan worked out so well that they eventually remarried (Meyers et al, 1998).
For communication to be effective, the message must reach the targeted end. However, the failure of the message to reach the other end shows that the communication chain has been broken. Therefore, for effective communication to prevail there is the need to overcome all communication disorders.
Fanning, P., McKay, M., & Davis, M. (1995). The Communication Skills Book. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
Meyers, N., Swift, D., & Shyer, C. (screenplay), Kastner, E (book). (1998).The Parent Trap (1998): Special Double Trouble Edition DVD Review.
Riski, J. E. (2002). Evaluation and management of speech, language and articulation disorders. New York: Oxford University Press. Pp 354-370.