Family tensions - Dr Eddie advises on how to avoid and resolve problems

Dr Eddie advises on how to avoid or ease family tensions
The strong bonds and love that often characterize the family unit can frequently be accompanied by tension.

The strong bonds and love that often characterize the family unit can frequently be accompanied by tension.

While children bring happiness and fun, they can also be exhausting as can some adult family members.

Staying calm and collected all the time is impossible and small disagreements and raw nerves create the ideal conditions for heated arguments resulting in friction between members.

Consequently the time we spend with close or extended family can challenge us emotionally, producing shades of anxiety, shame, embarrassment, anger or envy.

It is important to look for ways in which strain on the family unit can be reduced. Remember it’s not meant to be easy, but keep in mind that many others before you will have overcome most of the problems you experience. Here are a few ways to help to avoid and ease tensions in the family home.

top tips

Adjust your priorities, including previous standards of order and neatness. Don’t take on unnecessary duties to try and avoid stressors.

If you’re doing your best, don’t feel guilty. Every parent gets stressed and is sometimes overwhelmed. Try and take time out for yourself to avoid any further feelings of stress.

Anticipate & prepare for problems before they arise.

Take advice from people whose opinion you trust, and get specific advice when issues arise.

If family tensions exist and are ongoing, the first thing you need to do is take a step back. The resentment or perceived difficulty we see when dealing with some family members isn’t always based on a fair assessment of what occurred. The first and most important thing to do is communicate.

Open and honest communication creates an atmosphere that allow family members to express their differences as well as love and admiration for one another. It is through communication that family members are able to resolve the unavoidable problems that arise in all families – and remember no matter how difficult it might be to confront your problems; there is a solution to every problem.

make time to talk

One of the most difficult challenges facing families today is finding time to spend together. Talk is the key; turn the TV off and eat dinner together; schedule informal or formal family meetings to talk about important issues that affect your family; and talk to your children at bedtime.

Be clear and direct

Healthy families communicate their thoughts and feelings in a clear and direct manner. This is important when attempting to resolve problems between family members. Indirect and vague communication will not only fail to resolve problems, but will contribute to a lack of intimacy and emotional bonding.

Be an active listener

Try your best to understand the point of view of the other person. Whether you are listening to a spouse or a child, it is important to pay close attention to their verbal and non-verbal messages. You must acknowledge and respect the other person’s perspective and be ready for a discussion.

Consider the above the next time tensions are rising in your family home.

Good communication, openness and insight will set the stage for trusting relationships and a happy family.

Without these basic elements, families are more liable to break down.

If you are currently in the unfortunate situation where tensions exist between family members, maybe it is time to bite the bullet and take the first step towards a ceasefire – life is too short.

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