How to solve your family problems
Who hasn’t experienced family problems? I am sure you can remember the last time that they were difficulties in your family. Problems can take many shapes. They can be about differences between parents on how to parent their children. They can be about fights between siblings. Or they can be tensions between parents and their grown-up children or the extended family.
You would be surprised how the majority of families can solve their problems themselves. Sometimes, family difficulties are more important or severe. You can find many self-help books about individual problems. I believe that there can be a self-help approach to family problems as well.
You can agree to gather all your family to discuss the problem and find solutions. This is called a family conference because it needs to look formal and planned. First agree a day, time and location for your gather and inform all the members. You can, for example, decide that you will have your conference somewhere else (at your parents house, your brother or sister, etc.). You will need to decide how long the meeting will last and provide a timetable. It is good to decide to have a chairman who runs the meeting in a neutral way. It would be nice if it’s someone who is not involved in the problem. The task of the chairman is to make sure everyone can speak and that people respect the schedule.
The program of the conference should include:
- The person who has noticed the problem or is suffering most from it is given 5 to 10 minutes to expose it.
- The chairman goes round and gives each member the time to describe how they see things (some may say that they don’t see the problem and this view should be allowed).
- Then people can ask each other questions (10 minutes)
- At last, the chairman goes round again and each member has to propose a solution.
- The family can then have a conversation about which solution is best.
- They all agree a plan of action
Use a mediator
If people have difficulties talking to each other you can use a mediator. This model means that you ask a friend or someone from the extended family and who is trusted by all the members of the family, acts as a mediator.
The role of the mediator is not to intervene or offer solutions. He or she needs to remain neutral. They just hear what the persons who are involved in the problem and they deliver the message to one another. Why is it good to use a mediator? Because family members who are fighting can’t talk to each other without getting emotional (angry, upset, etc.) They will therefore be unable to communicate and understand each other. The mediator is neutral and it is unlikely that people will get highly emotional. They will be able to hear the message and gradually agree a solution.
Family can solve their own problems naturally
If the problem persists and you cannot solve the family problem, you might consider family therapy. Contrary to popular belief, therapy doesn’t need to be a long process where you have to go for month, once a week. Most family therapists offer brief family counseling, from 1 session to a few sessions. They are trained to help families find solutions to their problems, irrespective of the severity of their difficulties. Read my hub on what is family therapy for more information.