A family crisis happens when changes must happen to a family. It means that one or all of the family members are at a crossroads – from here, things will become better, or they might become worse. At times, everyday struggles can be overwhelming and lead to too much stress.
What are some situations or events that may cause a family crisis? One is an unexpected circumstance, such as the sudden death of a loved one or losing a job. Changes like these are not easy for families, as they need family members to go through the loss. If you lose your job, you’ll have to manage the emotions and the financial difficulties that follow after the loss. If someone in the family dies, the ones left will grieve and perhaps be forced to stand and take responsibility for whatever is needed to survive and thrive.
Studies have proven that most families that undergo a crisis often have family conflicts as well. For others, though, they learn to support one another and build better and stronger relationships.
This happens before people get married, have kids, have their kids start school, retirement, children going through teenage difficulty or leaving home, or living with a terminal illness. Some changes are slow and elusive, while others still are intense and sudden. However, these crises are often considered as normal, and stress experienced by the family because of these events may manifest without their awareness. Adjusting to teens leaving home or having an additional family member can be quite challenging for most families.
- These ‘normal’ circumstances can lead to stress and anxiety because they force the family members to try and rearrange themselves and their lives. They’ll have to make adjustments to the family rules and regulations and change family roles to be able to keep the peace among each other.
- When someone in the family goes into their puberty stage, almost all family members are affected. Teens then learn to make their own decisions and do their own thing, and this has an impact on everyone, especially the parents.
A structural type of crisis is one where the family refuses to change to meet the requirements of a developmental or sudden crisis. When this happens, existing arguments and conflicts worsen and may lead to a lot of things that hurt you and the rest of the family. Infidelity, alcoholism, divorce, sexual or physical abuse, and drug use are some examples of structural crises.
- These behaviors are frequently manifestations of a family’s incapability to familiarize with change and to fix the family’s problems and concerns efficiently.
- This crisis may also lead to the family becoming very messy to the point that it will not be able to withstand it. In cases like these, seeking help from a mental health professional is crucial. Undoubtedly, any type of family crisis is exhausting and stressful. Any crisis requires some kind of modification in the family, and the modification itself is what causes stress. Families that become stressed usually argue about who’s right or wrong and are not eager to spend quality time with each other. Additionally, the children do not want to interact with their parents, and the parents do not interact well with each other as well. They also:
- Suffer from sleeplessness, disorientation, weight loss, anxiety, and depression.
- Open up freely and honestly, particularly the well-adjusted families. Conversely, non-functional families keep things to themselves and do not discuss anything profound with each other.
If you and your family get stuck in the mud of confusion, conflict, and mess, you should talk to a professional for help. Can you imagine living a life like this forever? If your answer is no, then work things out with a mental health professional to create a plan to resolve the crisis.
Stress In Kids
When there is a family crisis, it means that everyone is affected – the children too. Often, the older members of the family think that children are unaffected and unaware of what’s happening, but in reality, they, too, feel the tension and become stressed as well. Here are some signs that they are experiencing stress and anxiety due to a family crisis:
They misbehave more frequently than normal.
Their teachers report fights and other school problems.
They tell you they can’t sleep.
They worry about the whole family crisis.
Consequently, because they can be stressed from all the family drama, they also need help in dealing with it. As parents, you can do this by talking to them about the problem in ways that they can better comprehend. Let them know that they don’t need to be concerned about the problems of adults, especially if it’s about money. Let them understand that some family problems are not theirs to solve or fix. You can also teach them how to calm themselves down when they feel troubled. Let them listen to their favorite music or do an activity that they are interested in, like drawing, singing, or dancing.
The most crucial thing you can do for your children in times of crisis is to listen to them when they talk about how they feel. Be aware of their actions. They may not be agreeable with you changing the family rules or adding a new one without explaining it to them. Be gentle with them and show them love and affection in times when they most need them. A family crisis is something that you should be able to overcome – and you will if you deal with it together.