Coping with Changes in a Family

Instructor: Michael Quist

Michael has taught college-level mathematics and sociology; high school math, history, science, and speech/drama; and has a doctorate in education.

Change can introduce significant stresses into the dynamics of a family. In this lesson we will discuss strategies for effectively dealing with stresses in a family environment.

What is Meant by Coping with Changes in a Family?

Andy is ready to be out on his own. He has trained for this. He's got his mechanic certification, and he's excited about having his own place. Then Andy's dad has a stroke, and can't work. Andy's mom doesn't know what to do. Both are looking to Andy for help, and he realizes that his dreams will have to wait.

Coping means dealing with something difficult in a way that works for you. When things change in a family situation, more than one person will be affected, and they all have to deal with the new situation as effectively as they can. Coping with changes in a family refers to a group of people, trying to deal with something they did not necessarily expect and which may represent difficulty for them.

Why is Change Difficult?

Human beings tend to be creatures of habit and rhythm. Sometimes they like change, but often changes mean that their worlds are being shaken, and that causes stress. The unexpected, the unplanned for, and the difficult can place an extreme demand on our personal strength and resources. People get hurt, relationships shatter, jobs change or disappear, and sometimes we find ourselves so shaken that we don't know how to handle it.

Strategies for Coping with Changes in a Family

So how can you cope with change? Here are some strategies that can make all the difference when you're going through troubling circumstances:

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