Dealing with family stress through respect, communication

AF Healthy Family LifeBy Lesley Lanier, family life educator
502d Force Support Squadron

It is proven that when dealing with stress, perception is reality. Although we experience stress in many facets of life, the most frequent and intense stressor happens to be within our families. This is usually the hardest form of stress to contend with because of our own emotional investment. There are four main reasons that support the increased turmoil within families. They include:

  1. Different levels of power and status, leading to members frequently challenging each other
  2. Sacrifice and compromise are required for the good of the family as a whole
  3. Children grow, hence more changes
  4. Emotions leading to jealousy, control, love, pride, ownership and privacy

Knowing that stressful situations with family are inevitable, it’s how we manage it that can make the difference. What’s the most effective way to manage stress within your home? A common response would be constructively. But what does that entail? Simply put, identify the stressor, and choose your resolution. This can be achieved by basing your approach on mutual respect, communication and compromise.

Remember, as parents, it’s us who set the standard for resolving conflict. Our awareness of our parenting style will also help us as we go through challenging times. The Joint Base San Antonio Family Life Program offers a great class, called Screamfree Parenting, created by Hal Runkel, a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist. This approach enables you to “raise your children by keeping your cool.” Screamfree Parenting is based on three principles:

  1. Parenting is not about kids, it’s about parents
  2. If you’re not under control, then you can’t be in charge
  3. Growing up is hard to do, especially for grownups

To register for a Screamfree class at JBSA, call the Family Life Program at 210-221-1505.

PHOTO: The Novotny family gathers around the table before brothers, Lt. Col. Ryan and Maj. Reid Novotny, get together for a marathon run. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman Carlin Leslie/Released)

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Dealing with family stress through respect, communication