Did you know that, according to the Office for National Statistics, family can be defined as a “civil partnered or cohabiting couple with or without children, or a lone parent with at least one child”? Using this definition, there were as many as 18.2 million families in the U.K. alone. Of those 18.2 million U.K. families, 6 million consisted of single parents and unmarried couples. Divorce, separation, and torn families make up just a few everyday family issues and problems. Money, busy schedules, strained sibling, parent, and stepparent relationships, and more, plague today’s families. Whether or not your household fits into the traditional nuclear family mold, there are some basic steps you can follow to make sure that everyone gets along in your home.
Break Out the Bother Barometer
The Family Education Network recommends using a concrete system, ranking annoyances on a scale of 1-10, to help gauge importance. According to the barometer, the lowest ranking on the scale, one, indicates that something is a non-issue. The highest spot, number 10, suggests that families may be torn apart by a particular issue or pattern of behavior. The barometer may seem like a silly tool, but the thought behind it is actually quite smart. By ranking annoyances and writing them down, you are forcing yourself to take time to stop and think about family issues and problems. This makes it easier to pinpoint whether it is truly your spouse or partner annoying you, whether issues will continue to matter for days or even weeks at a time, or whether you are having an off day.
Set Aside Time
According to The Daily Mail families spend an average of only 36 minutes together every day. With the number of smartphones and mobile devices increasing exponentially, it is fair to question the quality of family time, too. Need advice on family issues arising from busy schedules?
Help family problems by limiting time spent away from children and work to one night a week. Maintain the tradition of eating dinner together, and, according to Family Life First, it is important to remember to shut the TV off during shared meals. Plan family activities, like picking apples instead of buying them in the grocery store, and always allot date nights for partners or spouses. Date nights help keep relationships, partnerships, and marriages fresh, and kids often suffer most at the hand of tense, or failing, romantic relationships.
Family help, or solving family issues and problems, takes time and patience. Curb family problems before they start, by breaking out the Bother Barometer, and keep families strong by making time for each other.
One response to “Strengthen Relationships by Keeping Your Cool, and Making Time for Family”
I enjoy the alliteration in “Bother Barometer.” And, as silly as some of these little family therapy tricks may seem, I’ve tried a few in books and things, and they actually are quite helpful in practice. 🙂