Webster defines « turmoil » as « a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty « . Imagine living that way—even in these times,
It could be concluded that our world is now in turmoil. Issues of health, family values, education, and relationships have all become political.
This is why the family has become fragile. With so much uncertainty, anxiety in individuals is running high. This means that family relationships are being negatively affected.
I explain to my marital clients that with so little predictability in the world it is even more important to be able to rely on our family relationships.
Anxiety makes thinking difficult. Thinking is important to filter what we say. With anxiety running higher there is more family conflict.
People often use substances to reduce anxiety. Alcohol actually increases anxiety as it dries out brain hormones. That means running on Adrenalin .Adrenalin eats up serotonin but people are more apt to experience euphoria after drinking. The deleterious effects show up later so they are often missed.
So with anxiety running higher there is more alcohol and drug consumption. That means more behavior that is out of control.
There is enormous pressure these days on the family unit as people struggle to find work, spend too much time locked down to avoid illness, and struggle with children out of school.
What can families do to find stability? What can they do to avoid divorce, to avoid the expense of family therapy, to avoid substance abuse therapy?
First, exercise daily is critical. Spend at least one hour twice daily in some form of workout. Use this in place of drinking or using drugs.
Hold family meetings weekly or more often. Be clear about what the rules are as a family. This structure comes from parents.
To have family structure parents must meet nightly to discuss what happened during the day and discuss what’s coming next. They Must be a team. These decisions get delivered to children and must be consistently executed.
The other part of family meetings is hearing what family members want. That means how to spend leisure time, meal planning, discussion of family values, and how family members can help each other.
Family members should plan alone time. Many families are imploding because there is no respite for being together.
Family conflict is higher and divorce is happening at a time when the family needs to bond more tightly than ever before. Couples counseling may be necessary to save the family. Whatever it is, it is cheaper than divorce.
The aids to keep families together and out of chaos: exercise, family meetings, the structure of a schedule, planning alone time, being sure to tell the truth, explain what is bothersome, fight to find out what you are doing wrong, and doing some negotiated form of what is being asked. These tools will prevent « turmoil « and actually make a viable family even in difficult times.