It can be challenging to offer general advice about family problems. After all, as Leo Tolstoy famously wrote, “All happy families are alike; [but] each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Due to the unique nature of each family’s unhappiness, it may feel like it’s hard to find proper guidance. Nonetheless, many family problems come from similar sources, and they can thus be solved in similar ways. It’s important to work on these problems, as being proactive is the best way to avoid a severe situation like divorce, for example.
Finding peace in your home life may pose difficulties, but it’s well worth the effort. There are few things sadder to think about than family members who no longer talk to one another and may never reconcile—before it’s too late.
To help you avoid this fate, this article will help you understand where your family issues may be coming from, plus three concrete ways that you can work on resolving them, including holding family meetings, doing something your whole family enjoys, and seeking professional help.
What’s at the Root of Your Family Issues?
There’s a very important word above, and it’s root. Many family problems may be difficult to understand at the surface level. In fact, there’s usually a lot of backstory and context for understanding why exactly the dispute is occurring in the first place.
So, whenever you’re ready to fix a family issue, stop and take the time to reflect on what could possibly be the true source of the problem. Let’s consider the example of passive aggressive behavior. Passive aggressiveness is typically used in the attempt of concealing a deeper source of discontent than whatever the topic at hand is. So, stop and ask yourself why someone in your family might be acting in a passive aggressive way.
Of course, it can be easier said than done to fix family issues on your own, which is why it’s never a bad idea to seek further advice.
3 Ways to Work on Your Family Issues
There are many ways that you can work on creating a stronger family bond and resolving any issues you may have, but here are three that are tried and true.
1. Hold a Family Meeting
Issues surrounding communication are often a problem within families. Take the passive aggressive example cited above, for instance. Too often, we ignore the real issue or only talk vaguely about what’s going on. Confronting the issue head on is almost always the best course of action, however. This can be done quite easily by holding a family meeting.
No, family meetings are not only reserved for television sitcoms. They can—and probably should—form part of every family’s toolkit for resolving any issues. Family meetings help with communication and can even keep tiny problems from blowing up into bigger ones over time.
One of the most important things to do is to ensure that each member of the family has equal opportunity to speak their mind. Parents, grandparents, children—everyone in the household. Simply by giving everyone a chance to speak, you will help create a sense of equality and fairness, which is crucial for everyone to feel happy and respected.
2. Do Something Fun Together
Doing something that everyone—and we mean everyone—in the family can enjoy is one of the absolute best ways to improve your family chemistry. At the same time, it may help to settle any disputes or decrease any ongoing tension.
It’s essential that it’s an activity for everyone. If it isn’t, then someone will feel excluded, and this can result in things being even worse than before. Don’t stress about it because it could be a simple as going out for pizza and a movie or a beach day. You could even host a family meeting and then ask for ideas and take a vote to ensure that it’s a democratic process.
By spending time together and enjoying yourselves, you will be able to better remember all that you have in common as a family. After all, there’s no bond like that of family. While this tip may not work with serious issues, it can often help improve the overall family connection and tiny issues may even be forgotten altogether.
3. Get Help
There’s an unfortunate stigma in our society that getting help is a sign of weakness. That couldn’t be further from the truth, however! It’s truly a sign of strength to accept that there’s a problem that needs fixing.
When you have a severe problem—or even lots of little issues—outside help can be incredibly helpful. After all, the idea of family is already an indication that we are better when we have the support of others.
Whether you consult a religious leader, a trusted family, or a licensed counselor, they should be trustworthy and experienced in helping families rediscover their bond.
If the problems are really severe, however, it’s probably best to seek the guidance of a licensed therapist or counselor. Family counseling might just change all of your lives for the better. The only thing is that you’ll really have to make sure that everyone is on board. If not, it’s difficult for the therapy to really have any meaningful impact.
Disputes, tension, and chaos at the heart of your family is far from ideal. It doesn’t have to stay that way, though! If you want your family to avoid becoming one of those heartbreaking stories—like when a child and parent never speak again—then you need to act (and the sooner the better).
Whether you try a family meeting, plan a fun family activity, or seek out external help (or some combination thereof), you can succeed in improving your family dynamic. Time and effort can work miracles, especially if your heart is in the right place. Just remember to exercise patience while the rest of the family gets on board!
Presented by BetterHelp.