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All of us want our home lives to be as harmonious as possible, with as much joy and positivity as we can muster. We want our spouses to be supportive, our children to be loving and respectful, and we want to be all of those things in turn to those we love.
Unfortunately, periods of financial difficulty have the capacity to throw the family into a state of disharmony, to cause arguments, and even, as a worst case scenario, to break the family apart.
While it’s some comfort to know that if the worst ever did happen, a good family law attorney is only ever a phone call away, every step should be taken to prevent things deteriorating to that level.
Here are some tips on how you can help prevent financial difficulties from causing family drama.
Communicate openly and honestly with your partner and (if you feel it’s appropriate) with your children
One of the major sources of tension in a family facing financial difficulties is that communication tends to break down and tempers tend to soar. It’s not uncommon for the spouse who is the primary breadwinner of the family to try and hide the severity of the situation from their partner, which in turn leads to confusion, secrecy, and greater degrees of distrust and resentment.
If you find a period of financial difficulty descending on your family — particularly if you’ve been made redundant — the first thing to do is to sit down with your partner and honestly explain the situation as calmly as possible. It’s likely their emotions will flare up at the news, but the more able you are to keep your cool, the more you can prevent the situation from escalating.
In the best case scenario, your partner will be able to support you during this difficult time rather than you having to shoulder the whole burden yourself.
If you and your partner consider it appropriate, having a frank conversation with your children — particularly teenage children — may also be a good idea. They are less likely to feel bitter and upset at the more frugal living conditions if they know why everything’s happening.
Work hard to remain calm and not let your frustrations out on your family
Dealing with financial hardship can be incredibly stressful, but the situation is made infinitely worse if you begin to vent your frustrations by lashing out at your family. Even if they act inappropriately towards you, remaining calm and collected is the best way of defusing drama and avoiding escalation.
Try different strategies to keep your cool, whether that be long walks alone, or researching free CBT or other mental health resources online.
Work actively to resolve the issues and don’t give in to despair
A certain degree of melancholy and fatalism is perhaps natural when financial hardship strikes, but allowing yourself to stew at home and grow increasingly resentful is a great way of causing your family to grow resentful towards you.
Work actively to resolve the issue on a daily basis, and let your family see you being proactive. Even if a solution takes a while to materialize, you should be relentless in your pursuit of one until things stabilize in the household.