Working together to heal as a family takes time. This is not a process that you can go through overnight. But you can start taking steps today. If you want to let go of dysfunctional family habits for good, here are a few areas you’ll need to focus on.
Routines are the key to creating a stable household environment. Children in particular need routines. When your child knows what to expect day in and day out, they experience less anxiety and feel less irritable.
This means fewer arguments, which is beneficial for everyone in the household. But adults also benefit from routines! Sticking with daily and weekly routines can help you stay organized and feel calmer. You’ll have an easier time planning your days and balancing all of your responsibilities.
Allow for Healthy Expression
Do you ever feel you suppress your own feelings because self-expression isn’t supported in your household? Maybe your other family members feel this way, too. In order to move away from dysfunctional systems, everyone in the family needs to allow space for healthy expression.
And when your children share complex emotions or difficult sentiments, you need to respond with healthy coping skills rather than discouraging further expression.
Set Reasonable Boundaries
It can be tough to set boundaries within your own family. You might feel you don’t have the right to disagree with your family members or tell them, “No.” This is often especially true if you grew up in a household where boundaries were never enforced.
But setting boundaries is not mean or harsh. In fact, it’s the key to improving your relationships with everyone in your household. Adults are responsible for setting age-appropriate boundaries and limits for their children and setting a good example when it comes to respecting boundaries.
You can’t just brush conflicts under the rug. It can be tough to address family conflicts head-on, but it’s necessary. Yes, talking about family disagreements and trying to work out family solutions can get messy, but if you attempt to ignore conflicts and differences instead, the problem will only fester.
Eventually, you’ll end up fighting about the same things all over again. Instead, try to tackle conflicts when problems arise, not later. You may need to have family meetings or sit down and have discussions together. It’s important that everyone is willing to meet halfway. Compromise can help you solve problems that seemed insurmountable.
Be Open to Outside Help
What if you feel you can’t fix these patterns on your own? It doesn’t mean that your family can never develop healthier relationships or let go of these behaviors. Instead, it might be time to look towards outside help for guidance. Recognizing when it’s time to talk to a family therapist can help you make strides together.
Accepting that your family needs outside support can be hard. But no family is perfect, and even the happiest of families need a little help sometimes. A family therapist can support and guide you as you work on building healthier patterns.
Are you struggling to let go of dysfunctional habits as a family? Therapy can help. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.