Negative situations are bound to come up in your everyday family life. Whether it be something as simple as your children fighting over a toy or a more tragic circumstance like the death of a loved one, it is important to deal with such situations in a constructive and positive way. Working through your problems together is perhaps the most helpful and healthy way for the entire family to deal with them.

Compromise and Family Life

Master the art of compromise in the household. Each family member should have his or her turn to have his or her way. There are many lessons we learn within the household that will prepare us for the outside world. One the most important lessons is the art of compromise. Learning to compromise within the constraints of a home can be a challenge as each family member is different and has his or her own opinion. By starting with simple trade offs, the family can work its way up to dealing with tougher issues.

Compromising should be introduced to even the youngest family members when they start understanding what "mine" is. At this age children normally fight over favorite toys and belongings. By explaining to a young child that everyone needs a turn and sharing is a special act that can be rewarded, children can learn compromise at a young age. If this lesson is learnt early enough it may be possible to ward of the dreaded sibling rivalry as the younger family members get older.

With older children, start by allowing the involved family members to openly share their feelings about the problem and give them a chance to explain themselves. Encourage the family members to listen to the each other and take cues from each other’s feelings. This is one basis for developing communications skills. By learning to listen it is easy to empathize and even easier to compromise.

Even the adults in the house also need to work on comprising. Remember that children learn by example. When it comes to household chores, not only Mom should be expected to do it all. Dad should also be involved. Strike deals; Dad can watch his game if he helps fold the laundry. In general, parents should set good examples for their children to follow.

Family Bonds can be Strengthened through Crisis

If any member of the family is afflicted with a serious disease or undergoing serious medical treatment, involve the whole family in the patient’s care. That will provide morale support to both the patient and the family as a whole. Talking about death or serious illnesses can be very difficult. Our society views death as a taboo subject and as such when someone is afflicted with serious illness, there is tendency for the family to speak about it in hushed tones. What we fail to realize is that death and illnesses are a natural part of living.

Illnesses and death are a part of family life. The whole family is involved when there is an impending birth. Time is spent preparing family members for the birth of a new baby. Illnesses and death should be treated the same way. Family members need to be involved. Involve the children in the daily care of the afflicted family member. Explain to family members what is going on and what to expect in terms of the individuals overall health. Don’t mince your words; use the correct words to describe the afflicted individual’s illness. Children can sense that something is wrong and they will feel ignored and will act out. Telling them and involving them in the care of an ill family member will help them understand and deal with the situation better.

If the illness results in the death of a family member, having everyone involved from the beginning will help ease the pain somewhat, although it is impossible to do away with the pain. By informing family members that another member is terminally ill early on, the death of a family member will not come as a surprise to the family. This will be important in coping with grief. Either way the family’s involvement in the patient’s care can provide morale support to the family as a whole.

Family Functioning After a Death

Every family is going to experience death throughout its course. Coping with grief is inevitable. But many times the death of one person in a family will cripple the family for years -- especially if the death of this family member had some extraordinary circumstances surrounding it. It could be that the person died as a result of criminal act or tragic freak accident. It could be that the family member who died was extremely young and it all seemed so unfair. These types of deaths can put a gloomy cloud over a family and affect its healthy functioning. A family should not allow this to continue on.

With any death of a family member, there needs to be a period of mourning or coping with grief so that those who are still alive can have closure and heal. With deaths that occurred because of extraordinary circumstances, this closure could be difficult but it must be done. If the other members cannot bring closure then maybe the services of a minister or mental health professional are needed.

After the mourning period, life for the left behind family members should start functioning again. Of course there will always be that sense that someone is missing but it should not be something that cripples the family from its continued survival. It is good to have some sort of memorial to remember the person in a positive way. The best way is through pictures of the good times with this person. Stories can be written about the funny things and good things the deceased member did and stored in a family album. It is very important to keep fond memories alive because those will never die.

And for those who believe in the afterlife, it is healthy to keep that hope that you will see this person again. Of course, not everyone believes this way but for those who do it does not hurt at all to have that anticipation of the future.

Be sure to learn from the difficulties that arise in your family life so that your family as a whole can successfully overcome them. No matter how serious the situation, your family should work together to help each other move past stumbling blocks.

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