Family: 5 Ways to Deal, Avoid and Fix

Who hasn’t uttered the dramatic words, “If only I had a different family.” Or “how can I be related to these people?”

My dad used to say, “Friends are God’s way of apologizing for your family.”

He wasn’t joking, and I believe that phrase rings true for most of us. You choose your friends over shared common interests, or whatever the reason, you choose them. There are no choices with family. Love them, dislike them whatever your feelings may be, the common idea is they are family so I have to deal with them. I have five sisters and two brothers and if I said it has always been easy, that would be a crock of shit. We work as a family because we have love and respect for each other. We don’t always agree but we treat each issue that arises from a place of love. To me that is the only way a family thrives. I am no expert but coming from a big family, I believe I have garnered some great tips.

  1. Listen I can’t emphasize this enough. Sometimes we are so busy waiting to give the perfect response that we don’t even listen to what the other person is saying. You will never get anywhere this way. And the problems you have will keep showing up.
  2. Understanding Even if you don’t identify with what they are feeling, give them compassion. Everyone wants to feel understood. You might not ever understand what they are going through. Just try, or at least say, I will never understand but you have my love and support.
  3. Silently Disagree What I mean by that is, sometimes it’s better to be kind than right. Pick your battles. It’s about figuring out what is worth your time and energy and what is not.
  4. Choose Family Functions Wisely You don’t have to show up at every family function. If there is tension between you and a family member, sometimes the best thing is to not be around them. It’s not giving up, it’s about respecting yourself and them. Giving time to heal.
  5. Letting Go I remember one day realizing that my parents are just two people. I had put so much emphasis on them being perfect and holding them to such a high standard that I forgot they are human. When I let go of these preconceived notions, it became one of the greatest moments of my life. It opened me up to loving and understanding them so much more.

My hope is that any of this advice will do the same for you.

Skye Dyer is a singer/songwriter and a work-in-progress. You can follow along on SkyeDyer.com.