Why are families important? We all need support. Kids and adults like need to have connections to others. Without connection, we are trying to go it alone. None of us, no matter how strong we think we are, can go it alone. Families provide this support. For those of you saying, “I never got any support from my family!” let me reframe this idea. Family is whatever and whoever you want it to be. I have a cousin who lives in community living and considers those people family. I know couples who live together, couples who live apart, and single people with a tight circle of friends that are clearly their sisters and brothers. All of these are family structures, and all are valid.
But let’s talk a minute about that more “nuclear” family, for lack of a better word. We’re talking about your mother, father, brother, sister, child, partner. Why do these people effect us so deeply? All of us have said, at one time or another, “THAT is my mother’s fault, ” when talking about a strange habit or anxiety. And it’s true. The people who shaped us, good or bad, have a huge impact on us. And we are having a huge impact on our kids, our siblings, our parents; all of these roles have shifting impact as time passes and roles change. Why is it then, that these are the people we struggle to get along with the most? Well, because we care about them the deepest, even when it doesn’t feel like it. We have to care so deeply in order to be so effected, for better or for worse.
So what do we do when we are struggling with family, whatever that family looks like? Well, here’s a few ideas:
- Turn off the technology. Take some time to be unplugged with the ones you care about.
- Make date night mandatory. This can be for partners, parents and kids, or any combination thereof. It all goes back to quality time.
- Find common ground. If that is movies, video games, taking a walk, petting a dog….it doesn’t matter. But find that one thing that everyone likes doing and DO IT!
- Enlist the help of a professional, such as our Family Coaching Program. Programs like this one encourage positive communication, emotional safety, coping skills, and recognition of the positives in family members.