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Balancing the family dynamics is as hard as it is with our busy life styles. When faced with changes, it could be even harder. Maintaining positive relationships, getting all the tasks done, looking after children, hitting the career goals, being the romantic we want to be to our partners, being the best mother we could be to our children and most of all allowing time for ourselves are a lot to fit in in 24 hours. We mustn't forget the 8 hour sleep in addition to all of them.
I would like to share some helpful ways of balancing the dynamics during change.
1. Understand Your Family Dynamics
Each person has their own values in the centre of them driving their decisions. Even within a small family unit this can cause misunderstandings and arguments unless these values are understood. Some has 'family' in the centre of everything and for those, they perceive their spouse as part of the family, family is their highest priority, money is a way of keeping the ends meet and their possession is their family comfort and opportunities. If this sounds like you, you may find someone whose centre is career, money or pleasure challenging. That's why understanding those values are important. When changes occur everyone's priority is driven by the core values. When you understand, the next step is to clearly communicate each other's priorities.
2. Communicate - 'Win the war, not the battle'.
Effective communication is more than passing a message on. It is about getting the message across clearly, ensuring other person understands the message, drawing boundaries and respecting those boundaries. That seems like a lot to think when all you want to ask is "pass me the butter please". But then, how many arguments start with 'pass me the butter'?
Communicate how you feel, what you need clearly and how others can support you. Teach these skills to children. Manage your own feelings and emotions when communicating specially with the children. The changes may be difficult for them to comprehend. Pay attention to long-term gains instead of short-term gains. For example, if your children don't corporate with the homework, pause and take a deep breath. There's no need to cannon ball them with all the parental jargon. Agree on how they would like things done and negotiate boundaries if needed. You don't have to agree to everything. If you do, there will be no homework and they will choose chocolate as their main diets. Including them in decision making is empowering for the children to self regulate and mange their behaviour.
3. Agree on a time table and tasks - Identify roles and goals.
Each individual has their own goals to achieve within the family. Depending on the personality and how each member approach these goals, there could be room for conflicts. Taking a bit of time to communicate these goals is helpful. When everyone knows what everyone is doing, agree on a time table. Each takes a role and share responsibilities to get common tasks done. Ask for help and respect the request. Avoid blaming others, trying to rescue others or playing the victim. Your children will learn from how you handle situations, so role model them. Forgive yourself and forgive others if tasks couldn't get done. Agree on how to move forward.
4. Allocate time for building relationships
Don't fall into the illusion that because everyone is home, that's quality time. Assign a specific time to come together as a family to entertain each other, play games, have fun and share thoughts and feelings. These moments help build relationships. Share some of your embarrassing moments with your children. It's good for the children to see your vulnerabilities. After all we are humans before we are parents. Create a safe environment for them to be vulnerable.
5. Be an individual before being the family member
Allocating time for ourselves must not be forgotten. Each individual in the family must have their own time to think, feel bored, be imaginative and feel like an individual person. Although restrictions may make achieving this difficult, use the little freedom available like going for a walk on your own or walk on two different lanes if you can't go on your own, have a bath or a shower with the door locked and with a 'Do not disturb' label. When the individual time is created for yourself, your brain will have more space and time for others. Don't allow your energy to be drained out of you trying to be a super human. Find a way to re energise and encourage others to do so. When you are all re energised, you will have more share.
If you need more help, try my workshop. Click the link below for more information.
Other workshops on adjusting and maintaining a positive mindset, managing anxiety and building resilience can be found here.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/102555066966 - Adjusting and Maintaining a Positive Mindset During Change when feeling Anxious
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/102787742906 - Manage Anxiety and Build Resilience
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