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Family Problems

QUESTION: I have family problems - Are there steps for recovery?


Every family has family problems but, there are certain measures you can take for recovery. Whenever you have a group of people who spend hours with each other there are going to be problems. Personalities clash and power struggles ensue as parents and children learn how to cope with each other.

The trick to the whole family structure is learning how to identify problems and then deal with those problems before they get out of hand. Take a moment to think about your family. What you will see is a tapestry made of people of different ages, different personalities, different likes and dislikes. This is your family.

A family's diversity must be acknowledged. Like it or not a thing called the generation gap will keep your family from operating totally on the same page. However, here are a few ideas to help your family cope with, and survive family problems.

Stopping the problem before it erupts is one of the best ways to deal with family problems. Family meetings can accomplish this goal. Family meetings provide a safe environment for each member to share their views on various issues. These meetings should be information sessions, not personal attacks or gripe sessions.

If you think members of the family may not open up, you can try having each member write down their thoughts and then share them by passing them around. Writing takes away verbal inflections which can cause a conversation to escalate into an argument. Remember, the whole idea of family meetings is to communicate no matter if the communication is audible or written.

If you feel a group setting would not be constructive, you can try having a one-on-one session with the person or persons you feel are at the root cause of your family problems. The main idea to remember is to keep talking, and try to work through your problems. The moment communication ends, the real problems begin.

Also go into each talk session with the attitude that you attributed to the problem just as much as the other person. This will help you take responsibility rather than blaming other people. As we all know, it takes at least two people to cause a problem and at least two people to resolve the problem.

Some other steps you can take to encourage your family's recovery include:

  • Admit you need help: there is no shame in seeking professional help. Many times professional counselors have the knowledge and experience to help you seek out the best solutions to your family problems.

  • Realize whatever you do it is for the common welfare of your family. If your family is dealing with a problem such as substance abuse or teenage pregnancy there are organizations that can help you cope and deal with these issues.

  • Instill in the family a desire for each member of the family to recover. No member of a family is immune to family problems. Each person is codependent on the actions and behaviors of the other members of the family. This means each member of the family must accept what happened and have the desire to recover. If one member abstains, it will continue to affect the whole family.

  • Do not hold anything against the person or persons who are causing the problems. It is ok to feel angry at the situation, but don't let the anger consume you; learn to vent your anger in a constructive way. Once you get past the anger, you can learn to forgive and eventually you will be able to move forward with your life. No matter what the cause of the problem or who is to blame, once the problem is dealt with, the issue should be left to fade into the past and the family should move on.

  • Keep communicating. Once a problem starts, the communication should not stop. It is important to talk through your emotions and feelings. Bottling up turmoil is not good for you mentally or physically. Truthful communication builds trust, which is the basis for a healthy relationship.

  • Take responsibility for your need to change. Too many times we try to change others in order to meet our expectations, but often we are the one who needs to change. So examine yourself and see if what you are doing is having a negative or positive effect on the family. Remember a small change in your attitude can have a major affect on your family.

  • These are only a few of the ways you can go from saying "I have family problems" to being on the road to recovery. Keeping a family functioning smoothly is not an easy task, but with a lot of work and love it can be done.

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