Managing your relationships
Our mental health first aiders’ tips for managing relationships at home at this challenging time:
- Don’t be drawn into situations of escalation – when we are spending do much time together it is inevitable that there will be fall outs, disagreements but it is important to not let this escalate.
- Think about the needs of each person individually and as a family – it is not only the parents’ lives that have been changed, sometimes unrecognisably, but also the lives of your children. We are more able to understand what is happening to us.
- Allow yourself and your children some time alone (if age permits).
- Go back to basics with board games, puzzles, cooking together.
- Pick your battles – decide what is important and some things that you can let go, this will help reduce the amount you are ‘nagging’ you are doing and in turn reduce tension in the home.
- Remember to use praise to encourage good behaviours.
- Ensure that you are all taking part in physical activity, together if possible. Go for a walk, bike ride, online exercise.
- Have a timetable- this should be an activity that the family does together so everyone can agree to avoid future arguments.
Our Transforming Rehabilitation team has some advice to help you consider your own behaviour as well as your family’s:
It is at times like these that we reflect on the relationship we have with our families, and the roles we share in each other’s lives. Sometimes we put up barriers to stop ourselves dealing with difficult issues, which can lead to isolation, frustration, and anger, and away from the very people, we want or need in our lives. Family relationships can be difficult at the best of times, particularly now when families are forced to be with each other for longer periods – this can be testing.
Remember that where you place people in your lives is not necessarily where they want to be. Members of your family will move around depending on the situation and what is going on. For example, you may place your partner right by your side however, that may not be where he/she sees him/herself.
The only way you can know what is going on is to be able to talk and listen to what is been said, not what you think is being said.
It is a good time to focus on your qualities and strengths – what are your positive attributes, why have you chosen them? You may be a good role model, inspiring and optimistic – if so, it is time to shine and be willing to attempt to make changes. The quality of a role model influences the people who look up to them.
- Stop and listen to what is been said make sure you hear by checking
- You do not have to respond straight away take time to think
- Go back with a response to what has been said.
- Be prepared to have open and honest discussion
- Speak for yourself “I feel” not “you make me feel”
- Focus on what you need to change.
Releasing old patterns of behaviour allows a person to become truly themselves, rather than being burdened by the ‘curse’ of other people’s issues and trauma.