How To Deal With Stressful Family Situations

As a family member, stress is a normal part of life. We are not only trying to get along with one person but to multiple people at once. As you encounter different situations apart, it can be overwhelming to face all these things at once, when at home.

The fact that family members have their unique perception can cause arguments and fights from time to time. There are also events that we can’t control, such as death or financial issues.

Stressful family situations can range from seemingly small events to a full-blown crisis. Plus, different people cope with stressful situations very differently. Our unique personal coping mechanisms can lead to even more stress responses from other family members. Unmanaged stress can result in negative physical, mental, and emotional consequences. Worse, it can even transgress to chronic stress.

It is essential to recognize the critical signs of stress and identify potential stressors. For older members of the family, it is crucial to watch out for developing stressors in children. The residual effects of stress can affect children’s critical development stages.

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Ways Of Dealing With Stressful Family Situations

There are prevailing life situations that commonly fall as stressful family situations. Here are some examples of stressful family situations and how you can handle it properly. Remember, it is vital to figure out what stress management tool would work best for your family. While there is no perfect and absolute way to deal with it, here are some approaches to doing it:

Divorce

Parents’ divorce or separation can take a massive toll on both a couple and children’s’ emotional and mental health. Sometimes, a relationship is not meant to work out. The arguments and fights that come with it can be emotionally taxing. Often, divorced couples end up going against their ex-spouse, with the children in-between. It can take a lifetime trauma to the children if the parents don’t handle this situation well. 

“Just as parenting coping resources may be decreased during times of great stress, kids may act very differently from their usual behavior when they under a lot of stress,” explains Peter L. Stavinoha, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. That’s why the parents have a role in maintaining their composure.

Give your children adequate time to process the situation and expect that kids may take the situation negatively. You have to be transparent and honest with the children about the separation. Remaining on civil terms with your ex-spouse enables you to formulate an agreement that would be best for your child.

Birth

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The arrival of a new family member can be a massive adjustment for the family. Taking care of a baby comes with dedication and commitment for both parents. It changes the dynamics of the family. That’s why it’s crucial to be a support system for one another. Having great teamwork when it comes to doing tasks can let you both function without getting burned out.

While this is good news, it can mean something negative for older siblings, as parents now have to divide their attention. For parents, it is essential to balance the attention that you give to children.

Never invalidate your other children’s feelings, as this can turn into jealousy and frustration. Allow your children to speak out and listen carefully to what they say and act accordingly. By doing so, they will know that you care for them as much as your newborn.

Illness And Death

The illness or death of a family member is highly stressful for other close family members as well. Since we may all have different coping mechanisms for grief, be a helping hand and reach out for support. Stay in touch with older members of the family and check out on them.

For children, explain the situation to them clearly and allow them to express their emotions. It would be better not to sugarcoat it to prepare them for similar situations as they grow older. As much as possible, maintain normalcy but don’t block out the topic when it arises.

Remember, we all cope differently. This is a crucial period when you have to look out for one another.

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Financial Problems

Undergoing financial problems can be a long-term and ongoing source of stress and anxiety. It can affect the pillar of the family and the standard of living if left unmanaged. Be sure to check on and encourage each other during particularly hard times. A simple word of encouragement can go a long way when it comes to facing this situation.

For parents, it is essential to explain the changes to children clearly and honestly. Note that children can pick up cues on parents’ stress, which they can also adopt. Reassure them that it’s going to be okay. Don’t let it be a hindrance to your family’s quality time. You can still bond by going to parks, playing board games, etc. It’s all about being creative.

Moving To A New Neighborhood

Moving to a new house and a new neighborhood can be a highly challenging transition. Especially if you don’t know anyone around town, it can be challenging to make connections at the start. You’ll also be leaving out friends in your old neighborhood, which can cause a feeling of sadness.

Explain the situation to young children, as they will be transferring schools too and leaving their friends. Allow them to say their farewell properly and, if possible, keep in touch with their friends.

Try to make an excellent first impression when you move and be friendly to the residents. Gradually, you may find yourself being more and more comfortable and used to your new home.

Fight Stress Together

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Families are most susceptible to stressful situations. Hence, it is crucial to know how to respond to such situations. By continually supporting each other, you can fight stress together and work towards maintaining a happy life.

Also, as a family, you can do family counseling at BetterHelp. It is convenient, affordable and an online option.