There are times of the year that we are not an effective family unit and it feels like we are all going in different directions. For us, as parents, this can be due to tiredness, stressful work situations, stressful life situations or simply that we are just not coping at that moment in time with the demands of a busy life. Children also have times that they do not cope as well as others which could be because of issues at school, friends, growing and life changes or just simply because they didn’t get Coco Pops for breakfast. Regardless of what is going on, there are times that the family unit doesn’t function as well as others and we just don’t fit together and resolve or work through things as well as we should. There are times that we are clashing with each other, we snap more, are more impatient or we just can’t see eye to eye on situations.
During these times it is important to try and remember that these moments usually do pass and don’t last forever. Sometimes they last longer than other times but often if we apply some simple methods we can weather the storm and continue on our way as a strong, effective family unit. It is not unnatural for these times to occur. It really is quite difficult for many different personalities to live under the one roof and cooperate and see eye to eye all the time. There are going to be fights or disagreements or times of negativity. This is all normal parts of being a family but there are ways that we can try to stay together and work through it. Here are some ways to be a more effective family unit:
- Trying to Understand Each Individual. This is definitely one I sometimes struggle with as I often forget that my son is not like me and handles situations differently to me. I also need to remember that my daughter doesn’t respond well to a loud, angry voice but more rational talking and a softer approach. Sometimes if my husband is in a bad mood just leaving him for 10 minutes sorts the problem out instead of getting annoyed at him having time out. We all react and respond differently when things are going on in our lives so taking a few moments to try and remember how people handle things and a bit of understanding may help lessen the conflict. It may not stop the conflict but it may not escalate to the point it may have. Listening to each other and spending some time as a family helps build on our understanding of each other.
- Take time out for each other or as a family. Our lives these days are full with loads of commitments. Each week try and spend some time to connect with one another. Some weeks are harder than others but even if it is over the dinner table with the television turned off, spending time connecting and listening to each other can help remember what is important and help to connect on some levels, even if not on all. If our minds are filled with other commitments or stresses this small window can still let the family know we are still there for each other and how we all are is important.
- Communicate with each other. This can be really tricky some times and when you aren’t connecting as a family communication is usually the first thing to go. If you or your partner are going through a tricky time just communicating to say you just need some time out or some time to yourself, or just mentioning you might be a bit distant or quiet this evening. Communicating with each other can let the other person know you just need some space and that it isn’t about them. Sometimes just a few words can really go a long way in avoiding conflict or issues later down the track.
- Have some time apart. Sometimes having a small amount of time apart can make a huge difference and you can reconnect with a fresh mind. Organise a play date for the children to spend time with their friends, a day with grandparents, or a babysitter for you and hubby to go to the movies or dinner. Split up and spend one on one time with some of the children and then swap. Have a girl or boys night with friends or simply go for a walk in the bush. Allow the children some time to themselves in their bedroom. Sometimes giving each other some space just for a short time means we can come back feeling better and perhaps be able to start the communication going again.
- Remembering that this time will pass. At many points in life, it is important to remember that that moment won’t last forever. It doesn’t always mean that it will get easier before it gets better but when it feels too much or things are going well, usually they have a way of sorting themselves out. Sometimes in these moments, it is important to remember to put it down to a bad day, a bad week or it could be a bad few months. Staying positive and mindful that it won’t be like this always helps us regroup and refocus on getting things back on track. Of course, there are times when this isn’t the case and further help would be needed in those situations.
- Love and Loyalty. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the underlying love and loyalty we have to each family member. It is important that regardless of what happens in our day, week or year our family know that we love each and every member and that we will always be there for each other no matter what. This is important for both adults and children to feel that sense of security and that even through the not so good times, we are still a family and will always be there for each other. It is important for all family members to understand there may be rocky patches but that we can all work together.
There are many ways that we can try to reconnect as a family but sometimes we just need a little push to all fit back together and work together to keep the family unit strong.
What do you do to keep the family strong and together?