Emotional Wellbeing



Mandy Kloppers

Unhappy families – common problems

1)Disagreement over expectations from parents: It’s important to remember that your children are not possessions and that they have their own ideas about life. Parents often try to live vicariously through their children by forcing them to do too many activities and take part in school functions that their kids have no interest in. Learn to step back and separate your own wishes from that of your children. Respect their individuality.

2)Rude, unruly behaviour from teenagers: Teenagers are going through many changes. There’s raging hormones, peer pressure and parental pressure to do well at school. Thus can cause rebellious behaviour and often leaves parents at their wit’s end. The more you try to impose your will on your teenagers, the more they will resist. Learn to get them on your side by asking them how they feel about issues and about their behaviour. Rather than reacting with anger and breaking down all forms of communication, adopt a more supportive approach and try to understand their standpoint. Many teenagers feel misunderstood and stopping to listen and understand can assist in breaking the negative cycle of rebellion.

3)Stepfamilies: Modern families often consist of two families blended together. This can cause all sorts of tension as two sets of rules, ways of disciplining and behaving are integrated. Leave all disciplining up to the biological parent and there will be less conflict. Make time for regular family meetings and ask everyone for their input. It pays to take regular progress checks and nip possible problems in the bud before they become unmanageable.

4)Household Chores: There is often disagreement over who should do certain chores in the home and even more problems when the chores don’t get done. Learn to pick your battles on this one. For the really important chores, write up a roster and stick it on the fridge. This way there is little room for misunderstandings. When it comes to keeping tidy rooms, some will comply whilst others won’t, no matter what you do. Learn to tell the difference between noncompliance and the impossible and stop banging your head against the wall. If your teenager never cleans their room, learn to close the door and accept that part of the house as their domain. If they want to live in squalor, let them be and preserve your sanity as well.

5)Sibling Rivalry and Arguments. A certain amount of disagreement is normal and healthy. If it gets to the point where the behaviour becomes malicious and nasty, it’s time to get involved.  Always maintain positive values in the home of tolerance, sharing, respect and kindness. Start this from a young age and hopefully the future will be fairly peaceful. If it isn’t, deal with this swiftly. Anti-social behaviour tends to get worse if not dealt with immediately. Speak to the school to find out if there are any issues (such as bullying) and figure out an action plan as soon as possible.

Recommended reading & Resources:

Steve Biddulph books.“ Raising Boys. The Secret of happy children.

Suzie Hayman “ How to have a happy family life

Website on stepfamilies: www.happysteps.co.uk

Helpline:  Family Line 0808 800 5678

Mandy X