Tips for Keeping Your Family Strong During Times

Every family will go through a difficult time at some point, whether it is the result of job loss, illness, death, separation, divorce, or a myriad of other issues. Fortunately, these times of hardship won’t last forever. However, it is important to remember that, often, you are not the only one affected by tough times and you need to be mindful of your family members’ feelings, especially if those family members are young children. To help during such a time, here is a list of tips that often go overlooked:

Talk to Your Kids

Most of the time, parents do not want to involve their children in adult situations (like financial issues) as to not worry them. However, many experts agree that these situations should be discussed as a family. In fact, they urge parents to have an open, honest conversation about the financial circumstances (and allow them to ask questions), for example, and suggest helping kids brainstorm ways to save money, such as by bringing their lunches from home or renting movies from the library rather than going out to the theater. It is important that children understand that, while they may not have everything they want, their needs will still be met.

Use Writing as a Coping Skill

This is something families can do together and individually. Suggest that each member takes fifteen minutes a day to write about their feelings regarding of the situation. They can write freely and not pay attention to mechanics, since the writing will not be seen by anyone else (unless they want to share it with the family). The most important part is to stick with it so, with time, it will become easier and help you get past the hurt.

Make Yourself a Priority

How can you take care of anyone else (or anything else) if you are not taking care of yourself? Take some time out of each day to take a brisk walk or jog, do yoga (Youtube.com has some series you can find which are gentle and great for beginners), meditate, take a bubble bath – whatever. Urge your family members to do what relaxes them, whether it is reading, painting, listening to music, and so on. They will feel much more prepared to deal with the situation

Practice Acceptance

This is a simple concept that is often the most difficult to practice. Sometimes, you cannot change a situation and you just need to band together as a family and deal with it the best you can. If you had a death in the family, maybe you go to grief counseling together. If you and your spouse are separating, maybe you agree to be amicable and follow through so your children do not feel as if they have to choose sides.

Seek Help When Necessary

Often, this is the most difficult thing to do because of our pride. However, seeking the help of a professional for family counseling could prove to be very beneficial. Namely, this could open the line of communication between parents and children, helping to make a tough situation a bit more manageable. Seek help from others in your spiritual or social community, especially if you’re dealing with issues that involve the loss of your former support system. When Christians get divorced, for instance, they can turn to their spiritual leaders for guidance and aid during that trying time. Those of other faiths and philosophies can seek out support from other communities–book clubs, neighbors, and extended family members can be of great help during tough times.  Do not feel as if you have to do everything alone.

The most important thing to remember when going through a difficult time is that it will not last forever. Also, to reiterate the above point, you are not alone. There are many resources and places to go if your family is facing hardship to make things a bit easier for all involved.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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