How to Stay Positive During a Family Crisis
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Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push - a smile - a world of optimism and hope - a “you can do it” when things are tough.
~Richard M. DeVos
All families experience crises from time-to-time – it is normal; however, some crises can be quite challenging. That is why it is important to stay positive during these difficult times. How can you stay positive during a family crisis? Well, by utilizing good coping, communication, and problem-solving strategies. Although, it is easy to give up when your family experiences hardships, it is important that you remain both positive and strong – not just for yourself, but also for your other family members (i.e. children, parents, siblings, spouses, extended relatives, etc.). The keys to staying positive during a family crisis are: working together (meeting each other half-way) and appreciating the special bond you share amongst each other.
Be a support system for one another during stressful times, and work towards being a strong cohesive unit. Your family will be able to persevere through any conflicts and crises with a positive attitude, love, empathy, and support. When you and your family members vow to “have each other’s backs,” there is no storm that you will not be able to weather. Be positive and your family will emerge stronger and more connected than ever! Are you looking for ways to stay positive during a family crisis? If so, you are in luck because this article will teach you how to stay positive during troubling times. Listed below are ways to stay positive during a family crisis:
Acknowledge How You Feel
If you want to stay positive during a family crisis, you will need to acknowledge how you really feel. For example, did a family member hurt your feelings with his or her words and/or actions? Are you angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, and/or annoyed? Are you secretly harboring a hidden resentment towards a loved one? Well, if your answers are “yes,” than you may need to express how you feel to the person, who angered and/or upset you. Do not bottle up your feelings, and definitely do not sweep them under the rug, as if they do not matter – they matter. So, do not let the resentment grow – confront the person, who hurt you, and let him or her know that what he or she did was not cool.
Do not confront your loved one in front of others (i.e. parents, children, co-workers, friends, or other relatives), rather try to find a time when can talk privately. Also, refrain from using blaming statements like, “This is all of your fault! If you wouldn’t have…then our family would not be falling apart now!” Use more positive “I” statements to describe how you feel. For instance, “I am hurt that you do not feel close enough to me to tell me how you feel, and share with me what is happening in your life.” Or, “It hurts the whole family when you do things to hurt yourself or others.” Share your thoughts and feelings, but also allow your loved one to share his or her feelings, issues, and concerns.
In addition, when your family member is speaking - actively listen to him or her. In other words, pay close attention to what your loved one is saying, and try to be empathetic towards him or her. Instead of criticizing and judging your loved one on “bad” decisions - offer suggestions, and help him or her find solutions to his or her problems. If there are several family members that want to support your loved one, create a family intervention for that person. During the intervention, everyone affected by the loved one’s words and behaviors, should explain to the family member how he or she feels, and how the behaviors have affected their lives. Be supportive, but firm. Let your loved one know that you are all there because you care and want to help him or her get the care he or she needs.
Do you want to stay positive during a family crisis? If so, you will need to show some appreciation for one another. This is especially important when family relationships are strained. The hallmarks to a healthy family is the ability to express love, respect, empathy, and appreciation for one another – even through the darkest times. So, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, and how much you love them. Also, compliment your loved ones when they excel and comfort them when they fail. Your support is invaluable. In fact, it can go a long way in soothing bruised feelings, and rebuilding the trust in your family.
Spend Quality Time Together
You will also want to spend quality time together as a family, if you are in the midst of a family crisis. Push away the darkness, by creating positive memories. Why? Well, because these uplifting memories will help sustain your family through these troubling and distressing times. Therefore, start planning activities that will create happy memories, and draw you closer together as a family. For example, start eating dinner together every night, and if possible cook and clean up together, go on family outings (i.e. bowling, putt-putt, gyms, parks, skating, etc.). Or, if you prefer to stay home, schedule “Fun Family Nights” once or twice a week. During those days spend time ordering pizza, cooking fun foods, watching movies and sitcoms, play board games, and create pieces of artwork. The key is to spend time together doing something you all enjoy.
Establish Family Roles
It is extremely important to establish family roles, if you want to stay positive through family crises. Why? Well, because confusion breeds negativity (i.e. crises, conflicts, disagreements, fights, hostility, resentment, and arguments). It is important to understand that family roles may shift from time-to-time, so be flexible and adaptable. For instance, if your husband, who is the “breadwinner” of your family, suddenly loses his job, causing you to be the “breadwinner,” accept and embrace your new family role. Remember, new family roles can be challenging, however, they can also be uplifting and rewarding. Understand that it is “Ok” to change family roles and responsibilities from time-to-time. Just try to have a positive attitude, while assuming this new role and your family will be able to weather any storm that comes its way.
If you have tried all else, and simply cannot maintain a positive attitude during your family crisis, it may be time for you to seek help with a mental health professional. In other words, if your family is falling apart from the stress, contact a counselor and schedule a consultation. A counselor will be able to teach you how to cope with any losses. Plus, he or she will teach you how to effectively communicate with other family members. In addition, the counselor will offer you the support you may be lacking in your family. The counseling sessions will provide you with a safe and supportive platform to share your innermost thoughts and feelings. And, the counselor will help you change unhealthy and negative thoughts and behaviors, so that you have a more positive attitude. During this time, you will also learn more positive problem-solving strategies, so you can work out your issues in a healthy way. Most of all, the counselor will teach you stress-management techniques, so you can properly deal with tension you are experiencing.
- Dr. R. Y. Langham
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2015). Family arguments. Health Children. Retrieved from http://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/pages/Family-Arguments.aspx
Motivational and Inspirational Corner. (2015). Motivational and inspirational quotes about “staying positive.” Retrieved from http://www.motivational-inspirational-corner.com/getquote.html?categoryid=163
University of Delaware: Cooperative Extension. (2012). Surviving a family crisis. Retrieved from http://extension.udel.edu/factsheet/surviving-a-family-crisis/