Our Family Doesn’t Get Along
At the end of our life, or a parent’s life, we don’t want to have to say, “Our family doesn’t get along.” At CarePlanIt, we encourage members to get along while trying to care for an aging parent. Likewise, at the end of their life, we encourage parents to get along with their children. Simply put, families that get along and work together create better end-of-life experiences for everyone.
Carmen and I found families are the most important resource in our last years. The quality and quantity of support depend on family communication. When we don’t get along as a family, communication breaks down. As a result, care for parents suffer.
In fact, all Super Agers use “Family Communication” effectively. It’s a master technique. A super tool. Here’s what we cover in our Section on Family Communication:
- The basics of family communication here.
- Why family communication matters here.
- Theories of communication here.
- Importance of family here.
- Importance of family communication here.
- How seniors make decisions here.
- Helpful technologies here.
- Getting things done here.
- Best practices, tips and techniques here.
The topics above help seniors improve family communication. We highly encourage you to study these Sections.
What We Cover In This Article
Carmen and I cover a few techniques to help troubled families better work together on end-of-life issues in this article. In other words, we’ll cover a few best practices that can help you get through a very stressful period.
Get through this period by staying as calm and rational as possible. Try and follow best practices. Use third-party recommendations (we recommend CarePlanIt) to help depersonalize the process of communication. Never actively try and “reconnect,” “bond,” “self-actualize” or “re-build” a relationship during this time. It may happen naturally, but it is much more likely the opposite will happen, especially if your expectations are unrealistic. During end-of-life periods, most of us have very unrealistic expectations.
What You Should Know About End-Of-Life Issues
Review our Aging Framework here. Keep in mind that all senior issues fall into the categories below.
This article focuses on helping dysfunctional families act competently during this stressful time.
Best Practice For Getting Though End-Of-Life Challenges
During end-of-life challenges, everyone is extra stressed. This should be everyone’s reference point. Stressful situations are not good for human growth, especially when they’re complex. End-of-life challenges involve some of the most complex and difficult issues. They include mortality, long-term relationships with parents and siblings, extended clans, and current stability and well-being. In other words, end-of-life issues are stacked with difficult issues.
Therefore, CarePlanIt encourages households to keep things simple and stress-free. If your family is dysfunctional, use these best practices below to do it.
Understand The Basics
Know what challenges your parent(s) will face. These are the challenges you and your family will address.
Do Not Engage In Emotional Behaviors With Dysfunctional Family
We all get emotional. In stressful times, we’re likely to get extra emotional. Reacting to being sad and anticipating loss around the loss of your parent is expected and alright. Transferring these emotions to other family members or reacting emotionally while helping your parent(s) is not alright.
Reacting emotionally while helping your parents in a dysfunctional family doesn’t help. Members will likely misinterpret emotions. Other members react to this misinterpretation. You react to their misinterpretation. You get the point.
Operate From A Plan
A plan should be made for your parent’s needs. For example, let’s say your mother has fallen and broken a hip. She’ll likely need help with tasks like the following:
A plan might list these needs with the dates they need to be completed. We cover making a plan here.
Let Family Members Opt Into Tasks
Allow members to opt into specific tasks identified in the plan. If the family is dysfunctional, allowing members to opt into a task is a non-confrontational way to allow members to feel empowered, not coerced.
Most people like to make their own decisions. By asking members to pick their task, you allow them to make their own decisions.
Set & Keep Boundaries
Boundaries can be important ways to move things forward when family members aren’t getting along. A boundary might be a simple technique where siblings communicate by email or text about tasks, rather than talking on the phone. The email and text technique decreases the chances of a conversation moving into confrontational areas.
Other Resources On When My Family Doesn’t Get Along
An interesting report on family therapy techniques here.
These theories might also share some insights on how families communicate better.