- It's not your responsibility to fix it.
- Choose your time wisely when you bring up things with your parents. For example, the middle of your Mum and Dad's argument about finances is not usually the best time to ask for an increase in your pocket money.
- Your tone is just as important as what you say. If you say something in a calm, non-aggressive way, you are more likely to be heard than if you use an aggressive, angry or whining tone.
- Spend some time journalling or reflecting on what's going on before you talk to your parents - it will help you to collect your thoughts and calm down a bit.
- Acknowledge other factors that are contributing to how you and other family members feel - you may have had an argument with a friend or have received a bad test result. Your Mum may have had a bad day at work.
- Use I statements when discussing difficult topics, rather than "you" statements. For example, instead of staying "you're always tougher on me," say "I feel like you are tougher on me." This small change can make a big difference.
- Be humble - it doesn't go down well if you tell your parents your parents what they should do. They have a lot more life experience than you and you might not know the full story.
- Be patient - these kind of conversations are difficult and don't always go well.
- Don't feel like you have to have the last word. Know when to stop. You don't have to win.
- If things get violent, get help. If it's urgent call 000. Australia wide you can call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). Each state also has it's own domestic violence helpline - check this link for more information.
Family conflict is part of life. It can be worse at Christmas time due to things like fatigue and busyness, financial strain and pressure to keep up with the Joneses (buy the best gifts, Christmas tree, festive lights etc.). Trying to spread yourself around when your parents are separated or divorced can be stressful. Dealing with extended family can also create more drama at Christmas. Here are some things to remember when dealing with family conflict:
Domestic violence is likely to increase during Covid 19 while victims are forced to isolate with perpetrators. You have probably heard about domestic violence but you may not understand exactly what it is. Here is a summary of what it can include according to www.whiteribbon.org.au. See their website for more information.
physical assault - this includes things like shaking, slapping, pushing, punching or scratching, kicking, spitting, biting and dangerous driving.
sexual assault - forced or unwanted sexual activity.
verbal abuse - criticism, swearing and humiliation and yelling.
emotional abuse - deliberately causing emotional distress by blaming and criticising etc.
financial abuse - restricting access to bank accounts or cash.
technology-facilitated abuse - includes sharing explicit photos to get revenge.
social abuse - isolating someone from their friends and family.
spiritual abuse - stopping someone from practicing their religion.
Domestic violence can be against men, women or children and is NEVER okay. Please visit www.whiteribbon.org.au for more information. There is help if you need it.
When you speak, your tone and body language say more than your words do as indicated by Albert Mehrabian's 7-38-55 Rule. This is especially important to remember when you are speaking to your parents. Whining, an aggressive or defensive tone, throwing your hands in the air and rolling your eyes are all sure ways to get your parents off side. If you want them to really hear you, try to control your tone and gestures. It might be helpful to do some breathing exercises, listen to some music or journal your feelings before you speak to them.
Parents can be a bit distracted, busy and frazzled at Christmas. I love this BBC video about sharing Christmas together.
Just in case you've been living under a rock, today is Father's Day. If you need a last-minute gift idea, check out these free printable coupons. Your Dad would probably be happy with a bit of your time and attention.
If you forgot that it's Mother's Day today (what rock have you been living under?) here are some printable Mother's Day vouchers from Skip to my Lou.
Mother's day is just around the corner (8th May if you're in Australia). I love this great DIY gift idea from www.diyready.com on their 36 Thoughtful Homemade Mother's Day Ideas page. They simply use a pack of cards, punch them and stick something that you love about your mum on each card. It may involve a little bit of thought and effort but I guarantee she'll love it. You could also use squares of nice craft card if you don't think she would like the deck of cards.
Divorce affects many families. Kidshealth.org has a useful article for teenagers who are dealing with divorce. Many kids and teenagers feel responsible for their parents' divorce but it is never your fault! It can be a very stressful time with parents bickering, changes in living arrangements, financial situation and perhaps legal action with custody battles etc.
Kidshealth.org suggests that you:
* see a therapist or counsellor if you need to;
* talk to your parents about your concerns;
* try to keep your normal routine the same, for example, sporting commitments, music lessons, hanging out with friends etc (this can be difficult when you're living between two houses);
* take care of yourself - get plenty of sleep, exercise and eat right.
For more information see the article at Kidshealth.org.
There's only four sleeps till Father's Day. Are you a bit disorganised or a bit broke? Here are some gift ideas for Dad:
Beach kit - beach towel, hat, thongs, sunscreen (if you're really broke shop at k-mart or just buy one of the items)
Magazines - grab a couple of his favourites (cars, fishing, camping, four-wheel driving, men's health or sport)
Character t-shirt - Big W, K-Mart and Target have plenty of Star Wars and Superhero gear
Hamper of some of his favourite foods
New BBQ tools
Car cleaning kit with a voucher to clean his car