How to Cope When You Are Stuck With Family

Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Bad
Families are awesome. Most of the time. But like every other relationship we have in our lives, sometimes too much time together is not a good thing.

Let’s face it, we all get on each other’s nerves from time to time. It’s totally normal, and there is nothing wrong with admitting that. We all need our time apart. And alone time is grossly underrated in our society.

One of my triggers is when people talk at me non-stop. I can only handle it for so long before I feel my anxiety shooting up. As a middle school teacher, I deal with teenagers talking at me all day long and the second the bell rings, I desperately need some down time. But I only have a short drive home where my own two children, my fiance, and my cat all want my attention at once. I love them, but it drives me completely nuts. I just need a few minutes of quiet. JUST STOP TALKING ALREADY!

No matter what your triggers are, your family members are sure to set them off. This is especially true when you are all stuck together for an extended period of time. So it’s important that you learn some coping skills. That way everyone has a better day.

How to Cope When You Are Stuck With Family
1 Figure out what your triggers are.

It is important that you recognize what your personal pet peeves are for multiple reasons. First, you can actively avoid those things that bother you. It also becomes easier to remain calm and remove yourself from a situation that may trigger you instead of blowing up.

2 Communicate effectively with your family members.

Once you know what bothers you, you can explain to your family members why it is that you may get agitated when they do those particular things. That way they understand what it is they are doing that is setting you off.

3 Schedule fun family activities.

There are plenty of activities that you can do as a whole family, so that you can all enjoy this extra time together. Make special plans to host a family movie night, game night, create art or music together, or go for a hike.

4 Make sure everyone gets alone time too.

We all need quiet sometimes. You can obviously enjoy some alone time in different rooms, but you can even stay in the same room if everyone does their own thing quietly, such as reading, putting together a puzzle, or drawing.

5 Avoid controversial topics.

Nothing sets people off like bringing up politics, religion, gun control, or abortion. So just don’t bring it up. And don’t get sucked into the conversation if someone else brings it up. It’s that easy.

6 Remember that everyone is unique.

Just because you’re a family, does not mean that you are all alike. You cannot change people, so you must accept them as they are. Even if you disagree about everything, it is up to you to decide to love them anyways.

7 Focus on the good.

If you look for issues, you will always find them. Instead, focus on the good. Realize that each member of your family contributes something special and acknowledge that attribute in them.

Why Spending Time With Family is Important
So now that you have the coping skills down, it’s time for you to really think about why spending time with family is so important in the first place. Like it or not, we are stuck with our families for life in most cases.

Co-workers, friends, and even significant others often come and go. But only in rare cases do we stop seeing our families on a regular basis.

They are often the people that drive us nuts in the first place, but they are also the ones who have our backs when we need it most.

When I went through my divorce, one of my best friends disappeared from my life. She never even checked on me to make sure that I was okay. You see, I was actually going through something difficult. That was not as fun as coming to my house for a barbecue or meeting up after work for cocktails. So she walked away.

But my family was there. My grandma offered up her house. My dad and step-mom picked up the classroom snacks I needed to bring in but couldn’t because I had a sick child at home. My aunt talked to me on the phone for hours while I sobbed. And many other family members prayed for me.

What have you gone through in your life where your family has had your back? What people have disappeared from your life and who has stayed even when times got tough?

And think about someone you know who has had an awful experience with family. It may even be you. How has the lack of a good family support system negatively impacted that person?

And now that you have thought these things through, you need to ask yourself what you want your own family to look like.

Do you want to be the family that avoids each other or the family that bickers constantly when you are together?

Or do you want to be the family that has Sunday brunch together or sits down and builds things out of Lego together?

It only takes one person to recognize the importance of having a strong family to make it happen. It only takes one person to focus on the good in each family member, and to recognize their contribution to the family unit as a whole. It only takes one person to teach everyone else the coping skills necessary for dealing with each other during an extended period of time. It only takes one person to ensure that fun families activities are scheduled and that alone time is valued. And it only takes one person to recognize why spending time with family is so important in the first place.

The best part is that that one person can be you.

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