It’s a truism to say that people don’t always get on. And it is still the case in families, even when people come from the same bloodline. Sometimes family issues can be funny, but more often than not they can take their toll on family life and make it less enjoyable. The good news is that there are ways that we can all deal with the difficult issues that family life throws at us. Here are some of the problems and what you can do about them.
Being Away From Loved Ones
Being a long way away from the people that you love is difficult. I’m familiar with this as my parents and sister live in Scotland. Things can be especially tough around holiday times or when your partner is away for long periods at work. This can often leave you feeling homesick and wanting to spend more time with your family. One option is to make use of technology. Video chatting and making frequent calls are a great way to deal with homesickness. You can also get around the problem with homesickness by making more friends in your local community wherever you happen to be in the world. The upside of being far away from your family is that when you do meet up with them, it’s a special occasion and much easier to appreciate.
A Family Member Stresses You Out
In most families, there is at least one person who is hard to get on with and who drives us crazy. You can’t always avoid this person (sadly), so it’s a good idea to try to reduce the amount of stress you feel when you see them. Often you can get around a stressful situation by focusing on mindfulness. I like to incorporate 10 minutes of meditation twice a day using the Headspace app when I’m at home.
Make sure you prepare yourself for handling an obnoxious uncle or a crazy aunt in advance so that you already know what to expect and how you will react.
Getting Everybody Organised
Most people find that getting themselves organised is difficult enough. But when you have to manage your partner, your parents, and your children things can become very difficult very quickly. The good news is that there are a bunch of apps that are available that help set up your routine, manage your chores, share your calendar with other people and generally organise your day. Getting everybody motivated and staying motivated can be tough, but with the right approach you can turn household chores into games and make them an opportunity to talk about things that are important. One thing which I find really helpful is organising dinners for the week on a Sunday.
At the heart of most relationship problems is a lack of communication. The problem with the lack of communication is that we don’t always know what the other person is thinking. When we don’t know what they’re thinking, our minds can wander, and misunderstandings can arise. Many families trying to get around this problem by having what they call an “honest hour.” Honesty hours are very effective at improving communication, especially around meal times. Even if your children say things that you don’t like it’s a good idea to listen anyway and reward them for being honest. Everybody needs to learn how to be patient and actively listen to what everybody else is saying.
Wages haven’t risen in real terms for many families since the turn of the millennium. As a result, more families are now struggling to make ends meet. One of the biggest problems that families face is debt. A potential solution is debt consolidation loans which can bring together multiple payments into a single monthly instalment. Many parents find that by using these types of loans they reduce their overall interest payments.
With everybody being so busy it becomes all too easy for family members to drift apart. Even when family members are living under the same roof, they can all be doing different things. Kids can be playing computer games, dad can be working in the office, and mum can be doing chores in the garden. Many experts, including those at Lifehacker, suggest that families gather around the dinner table in the evenings at all ask each other basic questions. Making dinner a family tradition helps everybody get together even when they seem too busy.
Getting The Work Life Balance Right
In a perfect world, we would use all of our time to build up our family relationships and enjoy our hobbies. But in the real world, we have to earn income. The problem with this is that earning money gets in the way of family time. The desire to make money competes with our desire to spend time with our families. Often our private lives descend into a mad rush to get everything done, and we don’t have enough time to spend with the ones that we love. The best families get around this by celebrating “micro moments.”