Family day comes at a great time for a day off to reduce stress but if can be a reminder of the tension in the family if there are problems. There is not a perfect family out there. Everyone has difficulties to varying degrees so what do you do with the ones that affect you? Here is a list of 7 common family issues with solutions.
When you see your spouse or child come in the room there is an instant tension. You know that something will happen because when the two of you are together it causes an argument. You snap at them or they snap at you. Everything just goes off.
Solution: To change a habitual argumentative pattern it has to start with you. Slow yourself down to see if there might be something else that might be contributing to your mood or stress level. Extra stress at work, boredom, hunger, worries about money or health might be constantly on your mind. Take a deep breathe and evaluate yourself. If it is something like hunger or boredom, then eat a snack or find an interesting activity. If it is that something is weighing on you then let the other person know that you are dealing with something and that you might need a little more time to respond.
Once you have done a self-evaluation it is easier to turn that around and kick in your empathy drive. Instead of thinking of the words the other family member is saying, (as we all know which words to use to push a button), try thinking about the reason behind what they have said. If you are struggling to understand, ask clarifying questions.
Nothing causes more arguments in families than money. It is not just if there is enough, it is also arguing over how it is spent or saved.
Solution: Money is never about money. Money is about what it can do for you. Often there are different expectations of how the money should be utilized in the family. Couples try to keep money separate to regulate this problem, but it really does not lower the number of fights about it. Instead, it causes a level of distrust. What does have positive affects in this area is increasing the chats about expectations, priorities, and desires about what you want the money to do for you. If one of you is thinking saving for retirement the other is thinking about buying a new car there is going to be a battle. But if you both take the time to understand the other family member’s ideas around money then you will be able to make a plan that takes care of every family member's needs.
All of us have preconceived ideas about how a family should be because of the family we were raised in. The result is that we think a spouse should act a certain way, or a child should be raised a certain way. The problem is people who have children together were not raised in the same household. Each of you have a different idea of what a family should look like. This causes high tension because words around parenting comes with a preloaded idea. Think about the phrase: Discipline children. You immediately think of an action whether that is placing them in time out, spanking, yelling, limiting or removing an activity or device etc. Your parenting partner has something that comes to their mind too which may or may not be the same. This is true for everything that is under the umbrella of parenting.
Solution: Talk with the goal of understanding and not criticizing. Ask about their childhood, what did or didn’t their parents do. Do they want to continue those traditions, or did it irritate them, so they want to do something different? Did their mother or father have a larger role in the childcare? If so, do they think the person in that role in your family unit should do that too? Developing a clear picture of what your spouse’s idea of parenting is will help navigate the future conversations on what to do with the children.
Balancing Work/Home Life
Life is busy. The constant struggle with feelings that there is not enough. Not enough time to go around, you’re not doing enough at work or home, no one gets enough attention, the list goes on. This causes worries about each section of your life including questions about if the kids are ok. The higher this stress becomes, the more irritable, exhausted, and worn out you’ll be. Then the negative thoughts about how no one appreciates what you are doing for them start. Discontentment rises and arguments develop.
Solution: Take a step back and think about your priorities. Everything in your life does not have the same significance to you. An example is: if you are family oriented and your priority is a healthy, happy family then focus on the activities that promote that. Take whatever your top priorities are and then plan your activities and your schedule around it. You’ll find there are a lot of things that will naturally fall of the schedule because they were only driving stress. As you build your schedule centered around what you and your family value, you’ll reduce stress and have a more balanced life.
Extended Family Pressure
When there is extended family involved then there could be outside pressure on your immediate family. It could be they have expectations of how often all of you should interact. They might have different views about parenting, religion, politics, etc. and put pressure on you to change to their beliefs. Or it could be that they are rude or mean and navigating a family gathering is difficult.
Solution: Have a chat with your spouse and/or children to see how the in-laws are affecting them. Then together with your spouse make a plan of how the two of you want to handle the extended family. This could look all different ways as it is going to be based on if you need to limit time together, or if you need a point person to plan, etc. Remember to be flexible with the plan so if one of you says that they are just not up to dealing with them that day, the other one is supportive.
Nobody likes chores but they are very valuable to our quality of life and teaching children how to grow up to be responsible adults. The arguments might be over who is going to do what or that one person feels like they are doing everything.
Solution: It is a privilege to be part of your family. Act like it. Part of being apart of your family means there is the responsibility of taking care of each other and contributing to maintaining your residence. When a child is taught that chores are just a part of being in a family then they are more likely to cooperate and gain self-confidence. Teach them how to do the laundry, vacuum, clean the bathroom, wash dishes, etc. Then allow them to do them at their own level and pace while providing them with praise and direction. The time it takes to teach them how to do them will pay off in huge rewards of having a well-adjusted child.
Divorce destroys a family and is difficult for everyone. It causes problems for families when the pain of it is just brushed off and not processed.
Solution: Talk about it. Talk about how it is affecting you and listen to how it is affecting your kids. Be there to hug, cuddle or cry on. Find supportive friends and/or support groups to help yourself with your own pain.
Family issues cause stress. The more tension that builds, the more likely it will result in a problem in the family. Often families can get stuck repeating the same arguments over and over. When this happens, it is time to get help. Many family issues can be resolved with the help of a relationship therapist.