How to Manage Family Tensions and Keep Calm in Lockdown
With numbers lowering, we are starting to see the light at the end of this lockdown tunnel which will hopefully lead to the easing of restrictions. However, the impact of being cooped up at home for this duration may have intensified pressures on both parents and children. As a result of being at home more often, little things may start to become big issues such as clutter, sibling rivalry, keeping on track with remote learning for children, or parents torn between parenting and working from home.
They might be the people you love the most but with burdens of the virus itself, lack of time apart from each other and emotions running high, being stuck at home with your family can be stressful and often cause conflict. Clearly, the current situation is difficult, but this is why it is more important than ever to make sure this time spent with family is positive as possible. To help you out, we’ve gathered some tips and strategies for managing family conflict and keeping calm.
Firstly, if you are currently in lockdown and family conflict is rising, it is vital to remember that:
- This situation is unprecedented, difficult and stressful for everyone. You are not alone, your feelings are valid, but you do cope in different ways.
- Look after each other but first look after your own wellbeing. It’s really hard to be there for someone else if you aren’t looking after yourself. Allow yourself to focus on you to be the best possible version of yourself.
- For parents specifically, remember that you’re not a bad parent for feeling stressed out by your children or needing time to yourself; you are only human.
- Listen to each other and really hear each other’s perspective, experience and feelings.
Now let’s look at some helpful tips and strategies for staying calm and managing tensions:
- Take a deep breath – If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed or angry try breathing in and out slowly for at least 10 times. Notice yourself becoming calmer by focusing on your breath.
- Take yourself out of the situation – If you are feeling overwhelmed, leave the room, go for a walk or listen to some music. Take a break from whatever is going on and do something to distract yourself. It Is important to find a moment to self-regulate your emotions.
- Learn to control your emotions – Take time to focus on how you are feeling and learn how to manage them. This could be through journaling, reading or talking about them. Help your children acknowledge their emotions, particularly with sibling rivalry. Support them with expressing how they feel and try to help them decide what is fair rather than simply imposing your own view. Let them figure it out too.
- Ease the tension before it blows up – Reduce the build up by sharing what the issues arising are and how it upsets you. Talk to your family about how you can support each other and fix any concerns before they become serious problems. Take time think about what you want to say before you do, aim to speak to each other in a calm manner to ensure there will be no lashing out.
- Lower your expectations for everyone – What used to be easy might now be hard, and that’s okay.
- Let others know what to expect each day – Let your family members know ahead of time your plans for the day or week, whether it will be a stressful time, and let them know if they need to give you extra care or that much needed space.
- Talk to each other – Ask each other questions about what is going on and actively listen to each other. Acknowledge each other’s feelings and understand your weaknesses but also celebrate each other’s strengths.
- Learn how to clear the air – Defuse the situation by apologising and accepting that you may be in the wrong. Don’t dwell on things, instead map out a way to move forward from an argument.
- Organise family activities – A great way to manage issues and relieve stress is to do things together that you all enjoy. Tell jokes, watch something together or play a game. Humour and happiness will help ease any tension and remind you that you are family who love each other.
Although these times are challenging, work together as a family to look after one another. Remember the importance of managing any tensions that arise and keeping calm, these strategies will help you create a stronger closer family post lockdown.