A way to enhance discussion about family life is to identify the ways that families achieve each of the internal functions. Besides the basic necessities such as shelter, water, warmth, and care; families may also provide internal and external functions such as socialization, intellectual development, recreation, accommodation, transmission, and emotional support. There are positive and negative communication patterns associated with each function, which will be further discussed. Providing care is the basic internal function and a base for the definition of family according to the United States Government.

Providing care can be achieved by providing food, shelter, clothing, and caretaking. Providing care does not require communication and cannot be positively or negatively affected by communication. Socialization is also an internal function that can be achieved through communication both verbally and non-verbally. Socialization is achieved by passing on your stereotypes such as defining what is wrong or right, defining male and female roles by role modeling or designated toys, and what behavior is appropriate and not appropriate. A positive communication pattern associated with defining socialization is sitting down and explaining to a child why certain behavior is appropriate and other behavior is inappropriate. A negative communication pattern could be telling your children that a certain behavior is unacceptable and then you perform that behavior in front of them.

Intellectual Development is another internal function that can be achieved through communication. Intellectual development is accomplished through communication such as quizzing your child, repetition of facts, computer games, toys, and reading. A positive communication pattern is reading to your child which increases their vocabulary and teaches them to expand their thoughts. Another positive communication pattern is speaking to a child in another language or correcting their grammar when they talk it will just prepare them later for school.

A negative communication pattern is putting down education verbally in front of your child it will teach them that knowledge is not valuable, and can cause further developmental problems. Recreation is another internal function of family that can be achieved through communication. Recreation can include such activities as playing sports, watching TV, reading the newspaper / books /magazines, playing games such as board games or video games. A positive communication pattern would be teaching you child the rules of the games and obeying all rules no matter who the rules are generated at.

A negative communication pattern would be to change the rules depending on the person involved this teaches the child that rules can be changed and they need not be strictly adhered to. Emotional Support is the last internal function of family and probably one of the most important. The family should provide a sense of belonging, love, affection, acceptance, and inner resolve. A positive communication pattern would be praising a child when they do something good and teaching a child when they do something wrong be it through punishment or a positive resolution reached by the child.

A negative communication pattern would be only giving the child negative feed back; this creates a child will low self-esteem and a negative outlook. Transmission is an external function of family that is achieved through communication. Transmission is the passing of unchanging family values and ideals. A positive communication pattern of this is discussing other points of view and leaving the child to make up their point of view through knowledge.

A negative communication pattern would be telling a child that there is only one right way of thinking and your way is the only way. Accommodation is an external function of family that is accomplished through communication. Accommodation is when a family encourages societal changes such as the women's movement or the civil rights movement. A positive communication pattern would be to buy your daughter unisex toys not gender specific toys. A negative communication pattern would be to not to discuss anything with your child and not change your female roles in the women's movement.