‘Tis the season to stress about families

The arrival of the holiday season also brings about the stress of pleasing family members. Extension agent Jennifer Terrell details ways to cope.



November 9, 2021 - 9:54 AM

Photo by Pixabay.com

The holiday season is quickly approaching. Everyone views this time of year differently, some who really enjoy it to others who would rather skip them all together. Either way there can be stress that not only effects an individual, but the family system as well.

Families are groups of people who share close and personal relationships that change over time. One way of thinking about the family is to think of it as a system with moving parts where each part is dependent on one another in order to function smoothly. When the family works as a system, each person has specific roles and responsibilities that help other parts of the system — parents, siblings, and other family members — successfully fulfill their roles within the system. However, what happens when there is a part of the system that does not successfully fulfill its role? The other parts of the system cannot complete their duties and then the system begins to malfunction. A family is like a system — when parents cannot perform their duties, the children could be at risk and when the children cannot perform their tasks, that can put a strain on the parents. One of the most prominent issues for families is stress.

Family stress is an interference in the normal functioning of the everyday family system. Family stress can manifest in different ways. When the stress manifests, those are called family stressors. Negative stressors can be a variety of things; for example, a family stressor could be financial troubles, a child with behavior issues, a divorce, or a military deployment. A positive stressor could be the birth of a child, a wedding, or relocating. A stressor can be anything that disrupts the balance of the family system. It is important to note that families will respond to stressors in different ways — some families may argue while others ignore one another and shut down, and there are some families who have learned how to successfully handle their stress. Learning how to handle stress is an important skill for all members of a family system to learn. Here are five tips on how to handle family stress:

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