Even in the best of circumstances, keeping a family together may be a bit of a challenge. You can love them to a fault, but the fact is that just the love in itself is not enough. Sometimes personalities clash and that can be enough to create a rift in the family. Sometimes one of your loved ones does something you simply cannot forgive. However, the thing that breaks up a family is most often a difficult crisis.
When faced with a difficult situation, a family can band together, or they can start drifting apart. In the highly individualistic cultures of most of the western world, the latter option is the more common one. Unfortunately, that means that a large number of family crises will leave negative consequences for the family in the long run. There are ways to avoid that, though. Here are some of them.
1. Keep your wits about you
There’s no better way to put it: be smart. Don’t be paranoid, but try to anticipate any danger. Is your company in a rough patch and they’re firing people? Start looking for a new job. Is your kid acting strange? Investigate, rather than waiting for whatever’s been bugging them to turn into a real issue. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bad grade or a problem with a bully; you need to get to the bottom of it as soon as it happens.
Once you’ve noticed the threat, you have to think rationally. It’s not easy, but there are some tricks to help you. Go through some small, everyday task. For example, make yourself a cup of tea. The familiar movements will be enough to wake your brain up, which will allow you to think clearly. If there is no time for tea and the like, go through the alphabet in your head, or count from one to fifty, but every third number. The important thing is to snap out of the initial shock that the bad news causes so that you can think and form a strategy for dealing with the situation.
2. Don’t give up on little things
Make sure your family still goes through their rituals. It doesn’t matter how rough the times get, or how tight the money is. If you’ve always watched an animated classic with your children on Sunday mornings, don’t stop doing that now. Something as simple as this can help keep your family together. It’ll give you all something safe and predictable in the time of chaos, and it’ll create a familiar and pleasant environment even when the times are tough.
3. Don’t refuse support
If your friend was in a crisis, you’d want to help. Well, your friends want to help you as well, so let them. It can be a minuscule favor, like doing the dishes for you while you put your kids to bed or something bigger, like loaning you the money you need. The favors will make your life easier, but the benefit you get from this is that you feel the support. Feeling loved and supported gives us the strength to fight and deal with everything life throws at us, so don’t reject it because of pride.
Don’t be afraid to seek support either. Sometimes your family and friends simply cannot help you in a way a professional can. Counseling and therapy are nothing to be ashamed of, and if it comes to that, neither is mediation. Still, if you have to deal with professionals, make sure they’re good. For example, Mediation Groups can really help you go through your divorce and stay on good terms with your ex. Not only is this good for you and your mental and emotional health, but it helps immensely when the children are involved. Don’t let them go through the trauma of seeing their parents at each other’s throats, so if it’s professional help you need, make sure you get it.
4. Show affection
In difficult situations, we sometimes bring the outside frustrations into our family. Have you ever snapped at your partner because you were annoyed by the people at work? In the time of crises, everyone in the family is more vulnerable than usual. That’s why we need to feel loved and appreciated more than ever. Shower your loved ones with affection. Sometimes something as simple as a big hug or a small “thank you” can mean a lot. It’ll make sure that your family members know that they can count on you, which will make your family more stable.
Even though there are some trying periods in everyone’s life, your family can and should stand strong. If everyone commits to preserving the family relationships, in the end, you will be more connected than ever and able to take on anything that life throws at you.