Family and Relationship Problems

Family and relationship problems can occur between parents, spouses, children, siblings, partners, friends and other important people in your life. All families and relationships experiencing occasional problems and go through difficult times so conflict in personal relationships is normal. However, sometimes these problems can become overwhelming. Signs of family and relationship problems include the breakdown in communication, frequent arguing, angry outbursts, disagreement, avoidance and physical conflict.

Family and relationship problems can be triggered by differences in opinion, beliefs, personalities, values or goals for the future but it can also be caused by personal circumstances or events, such as:

  • Change in family circumstances (new baby, children becoming teenagers, separation/divorce, blending families)
  • Change in life circumstances (aging, retirement, unemployment, moving house, homelessness, health deterioration)
  • Financial problems
  • Stress (lack of time, pressures at school/work)
  • Physical health (illness, chronic pain)
  • Issues relating to sexuality
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Gambling problems
  • Bullying/harassment
  • Natural disasters (cyclone, flood, drought, bush-fire)
  • Death of a family member, colleague, friend, or pet
  • Lack of trust or respect in a relationship

How do family and relationship problems affect wellbeing?

Often your family is the people closest to you and relationship problems can cause considerable distress for you and those around you. Family and relationship problems may lead to:

  • Often having negative emotions (sadness, anger, depression, anxiety)
  • Often feeling confused, stressed or exhausted
  • Feeling alone, isolated or withdrawn
  • Difficulties sleeping or eating properly
  • Difficulties concentrating or making mistakes at school or work
  • Not enjoying your hobbies or normal activities
  • Problems with other personal relationships (children, friends, colleagues)
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope or escape the situation.

What helps?

  • Talk about it – communication is the key to making your relationships work. Talking calmly and openly about your problems with your loved ones is the first step to finding a solution.
  • Accepting your differences – even people who are very close sometimes have different opinions, ideas, and beliefs.
  • Acknowledging that you may not always agree with your loved ones can help to avoid unnecessary conflict.
  • Have fun together – even when things are tough, it is important to find time to do things you enjoy with your partner or family.
  • Develop a plan – if your family and relationship problems are mainly due to your circumstances, it can help to work with your family or partner to develop a plan for action that you all agree on.
  • Get help – there may be times when you are not able to solve your family and relationship problems alone and need some external help. There are many types of assistance available, including family or relationship counseling, mediation and courses, and workshops in communication, parenting, problem-solving and positive coping skills.

People in supportive, loving relationships help each other practically as well as emotionally. Supportive partners share the good times and help each other through the tough ones. They are also more likely to feel healthier, happier and satisfied with their lives and less likely to have mental or physical health problems.

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