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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dealing With Family Stress

 By: Trevor Dumbleton

One of the problems with family stress is the fact that is knows
where you live. After all, it tends to show up exactly where you
live: at home. This tends to be a bad thing, since working
people generally try to come home in order to relieve their
stress. Of course, it is even worse for those who are full-time
homemakers, since the source of stress is there all the time. In
fact, even going to a job every day seems like it would be a
nice stress relief. Thus, when family stress starts rearing its
ugly head, it is time to take stock of things and figure out a
way of lessening it.

The first thing to do, when dealing with family stress, is to
let go of the illusion that the home is somehow a place a rest
and tranquility that is utterly free from any sort of stress.
Let's face it, it's just not true. Though you love your family
and enjoy spending time with them, home life can be very
stressful. After all, you have many people there who have a lot
of expectations of you and you cannot fulfill all of those
expectation all of the time. So understand that stress can enter
the home and you will be halfway there.

The next step in lessening family stress is to actually spend
time with your family. One of the best ways to spend time with
your family is at the dinner table. Just sitting down with your
entire family and enjoying a meal is a way to connect with
everyone. Do not eat dinner in front of the television but,
rather, sit in the dining room or kitchen and just share a meal.

At first, it may be quiet and there may not be much to talk
about, but this will come in time. As it slowly sink into your
family members' minds that there is nothing to do but talk to
each other, conversation will start flowing.

The next step in alleviating family stress is to have fewer
expectations of your family members. Yes, you expect your spouse
to be absolutely devoted to everything you say and do, you
expect your kids to be straight-A students and you expect your
home to be immaculate all the time every day. Tip for you: Not
going to happen. Homes are not perfect any more than people are
perfect. As in, not at all. Imperfections are part of home life
and you will need to learn how to deal with them. Accept the
bad, enjoy the good, and let everyone be human. Then everyone
will have much less stress and, as a result, everyone will be
much happier.

Next, accept the fact that you are not a superhero. Despite the
fact that you want to be able to work hard every day, spend
plenty of time with your kids, drive them to every
sports/music/dance practice and be there for every
game/recital/performance, it is not going to happen. Yes, you
can make every effort to be there all the time and it is very
important that you try, you cannot be everyplace all at once.
Learn to appreciate the fact that you are not going to be
perfect. You may try and you may be largely successful, but you
cannot be everything you wish you could be. So accept your own
humanity and allow yourself to be human too.

Finally, when you want to relieve family stress, do not force
it. Yes, you want everything to come easy and you want to be
able to connect with your kids all the time, but that is not
always possible. Children change, often in surprising ways, and
you need to learn how to accept that. This is especially
difficult with teenage children, since they tend to be moody,
elusive, and sometimes even obnoxious. However, by accepting
them for who they are and dealing with the fact that they are
not ready to open up to you all at once, you will relieve a
great deal of family stress. This is especially true if you have
not been able to reach them for some time, since they tend to be
closed off and reluctant to open up to their parents. So accept
that it will take some time for you to make some connections and
understand that things may not always be as easy as you hope.
After all, if something was easy, it wouldn't be worth doing,
would it?

Family stress is difficult to deal with, but it is not
impossible. By accepting your own limitations, as well as those
of your family, you can save yourself a lot of worry and concern
by simply understanding that your family is composed of
different people. Different people who have their own lives,
their own concerns, and their own unique way of seeing things.
By accepting that, you can understand their points of view and
come to grips with the fact that family stress is, oftentimes,
just a fact of life.

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