News and Notes from The Johnson Center

Family Life: How to Juggle Some of Life’s Challenges

JCCHD | Fri, April 12, 2013 | [Autism Treatment][Community]

Juggling Priorities

Balancing work, marriage, and children is always challenging. Throw in the time and financial requirements of raising a child with special needs, and anyone would be overwhelmed. It’s important for everyone in the family to consider healthy ways to balance their time.

The first step is to realize that it’s okay to be overwhelmed. Many times, feelings of guilt or inadequacy can hinder parents from taking steps towards positive change. It’s easy to become consumed by the challenges instead of focusing on ways to overcome them. Consider alternative ways of expressing and releasing negative feelings, such as exercise, a hobby, or even just a few hours of solitude to gather thoughts and recharge. These few moments can make all the difference in reframing your thoughts and attitude. Taking care of yourself is a key component in being able to effectively take care of others.

Having a healthy family lifestyle that includes open communication and honesty is also important. Your partner may not feel comfortable expressing how stressed or discouraged he or she actually is. Additionally, you may not want to express your own feelings of guilt or disappointment. If these feelings are not communicated, they cannot be effectively resolved. Communicating with your partner can bring closure and a sense of empathy for one another. It can transition the feelings of isolation and despair into a more empathetic and understanding relationship. Effective communication is also important for siblings and other members of the family. Making time to listen to your family’s needs and concerns while also sharing your own can be a rewarding experience. It may only take 15 minutes at the dinner table, or a discussion during a family game, to make a difference.

Along with healthy daily living skills, parents should also consider their priorities at work. You may have taken on more work responsibilities than you can handle. Understanding that these responsibilities may not be feasible on your own and asking for support is important. It’s understandable that you may want to try and maintain normalcy, especially in areas outside of the home, but maintaining those responsibilities at work can sometimes adversely affect the home environment and your health. It’s important to communicate with your colleagues when you need help. You don’t necessarily need to take on less work, but seeking guidance on priorities is a start.

By taking care of yourself, increasing communication between family members, and working toward maintaining a healthy workload, you will alleviate some of the hardships of juggling an overwhelming amount of responsibility. Communication is the key to being able to manage stress and get help. The struggles may come often and seem difficult, but there are always eager helping hands that will be willing to provide assistance. Contact our family support team at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for information on support groups or referrals for additional resources.