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A Family is What YOU Make It

Families are constantly evolving. They adapt to their environments and cope with change to the best of their ability to fulfill the demands of their surroundings.  Coping is typically synonymous with handling demanding situations in a positive way. However, this is not true. Coping simply refers to how an individual or group can manipulate the external world and internal drives to create and maintain structure, stability, and consistency in their lives. Sometimes, families cope with situations in a negative way that can create patterns that are more harmful overtime. As these maladaptive patterns create more difficulty amongst family members, the dynamic can drastically spiral out of control before anyone realizes it. Think of a life raft wading through the ocean. The ocean, with its current, manipulates the direction of the vessel. The raft then copes by gliding itself along the easiest path, creating a push in a particular direction. However, unchecked, the raft can drastically veer off course and place the travelers in a more dangerous predicament, further out to sea.

Given the challenges that life can bring, a family can become easily overwhelmed by trying to correct their course and move in a more positive direction. How do we go about doing this? It is easy for family members to point at the parents for perhaps not being as involved in the family as the rest may wish. It is easy for parents to blame their child for acting out behaviorally, or for getting low grades in school. It is easy to blame the family for not spending every night eating dinner together at the dinner table.  Then again, how many people have tried addressing these concerns, only to have an even bigger blowout? Placing blame and pointing fingers should not be where we look to start to move our families forward.

There is a simple starting point, a foundation builder, which is continuously overlooked. So obvious, however, that the answer is hidden in plain sight. In order to know where to begin, you must know where to start. So before you try and pinpoint all of the negative things that are bugging you about your family, try this:

Define what a family means to you. Start there. Define what is important to you in a family, in your family. What are your family values? Is it important that everyone sits down and eats dinner at the table; or are you content with TV dinners while watching CSI? What does the perfect family look like to you? What needs to happen to make you feel good about where your family is in relation to your ideals?

It is easy for others to tell you what to value in a family. Over the last 50 years, TV and movies have evolved from “Leave it to Beaver” to “Full House” to “Modern Family”; each decade depicting how the typical family should look and act. Why should you have to follow the mainstream definition? Look at what is important to you, because, let’s face it, TV controls enough of our lives as it is.

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Categories: Uncategorized
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  1. January 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm

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