Families are more stressed, more stretched and more inundated by life than ever before. Yet, solid, connected, loving families are more important than ever. Recently I connected with fellow family enthusiast Wes Fessler. He and Carrie Fessler run the Family Fun Shop, a great online resource that supports busy families. Today I want to share with you two thoughts from one of Wes’ recent articles, “Reducing Family Stress.” The article talks about how families can reduce their stress; awareness and communication being two primary tools. Wes shares:
Awareness: Life happens so quickly that sometimes it can be difficult to identify with precision the stresses that are occurring in family life. Dealing with family stress requires more than an awareness of personal concerns: it also requires alertness to the stressors affecting each member of the family. It is easy to become so wrapped up in personal issues that problems of others are overlooked.
More than Speaking: Effective family communication requires more than simply speaking to one another: it demands a genuine concern and interest for the collective family unit. It is important to prevent family communication from becoming impersonal in nature. Simple status updates, or yes and no answers may be better than no communication at all, but they generally fail to deliver the closeness that is needed as a family dealing with stress. Communication as a family should be deep enough to reach the heart and leave no doubt that messages of love are traveling through every channel and reaching everyone involved.
Wes has really hit the nail on the head! What can we learn from and apply to our lives from these great insights? First, family, by its very definition, is more than one person. Second, it is important to acknowledge that each and every member of the family lives complicated, often stressful, lives. Third, talking with family members can not only help you identify the stresses that are occurring, but it can also strengthen the connections between family members.
Don’t get me wrong, it sounds easy, but it is anything but! I talk to, and I’m sure Wes talks to, families who are struggling with each other, don’t communicate, and love is nowhere to be found. I believe that this can be changed. First, be aware that there is a problem. Second, take one step each day that will bring you closer to resolving some aspect of your family challenges. Maybe that means talking with a counselor, coach or some other individual who can help you get to the bottom of your struggles and help you all work out safe, smart, healthy, loving decisions about your futures. Perhaps, this may simply be being proactive about communication or setting up plans for all of you to participate in. Third, and finally, solid, connected, loving families take time and effort! Don’t be discouraged because you think it will take forever. Take it one step, one day, one communication, one hug at a time. You’ll be amazed how quickly things transform!
I encourage you to share your ‘one step’ below. Also, I would love to help you and your family with your transformations, visit my website to easily contact me and share your story!