Tips to Assist Family Relations

By Heather Bunting

Families are interesting. They can be the source of a lot of comfort, care and happiness. But they can also be the source of a lot of pain.

Each family is unique and each person within a family is also unique. We all have value.

We have our family of origin and we also have our family of creation. These take many forms from the two parent with children family, single parents and children, same sex couples and children, single people without children or with loved animals.

When we were small we probably couldn’t do a lot to influence our family of origin. Our family of origin consists not just of our parents but our parents’ parents.

Sometimes we can make changes within ourselves which affect how we interact or are affected by other family members.

Sometimes we can’t.

A couple of tricks we can use if we have difficulties with family members are:

  • If we feel a particular behaviour or reaction ‘always’ happens, look for exceptions, even small ones, and see why that interaction was different and whether that can be repeated or grown.
  • Value any small change – acknowledge the change!
  • A ‘compliment’ could be an acknowledgement that someone did something well, or it could be in the form of ‘I notice this happened (which was different), how did you do that?’ (Acknowledges the person’s ability or capability to do something).
  • Ask yourself, ‘On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 0 is most unhappy and 10 is very happy), how happy am I with …’. Then ‘what would it take to move that up by .5?’ Check in periodically with yourself.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes – what does the world or the situation look like from their point of view?
  • If a miracle happened, what would be happening so I would know? This may lead you to make some changes you hadn’t thought of before.

Try these in different ways and at different times. See what you find. Be open to the possibility that things can change when we change or when we put in the effort.

I’d love to know what you think of what I’ve said here. You can give me your feedback, ask a question by email or post a comment below.

If you or someone you know would like a support as you work to improve relations in your family, please contact us.