Tip Sheets

Dig a little deeper about the family topics

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Caregiving

  • When Families Disagree: When a caregiving crisis occurs within a family, it can bring family members closer together or it can drive them apart. As the demands of caregiving increase, family caregivers may find it difficult to balance the tasks at hand with the needs of other family members. Past family conflicts may resurface during this time.
  • Using Guilt Constructively: Many caregivers experience feelings of guilt. Guilt, like fear, often does not follow the rules of logic. Guilt feelings that are ignored can add to stress and may become debilitating and undermine self-confidence.
  • Making Frustration Work for You: Angry feelings are okay. Anger is a healthy, normal emotion triggered by an event. Our response to angry feelings determines whether anger becomes a positive or negative force.
  • Facing Fear: Fear is a normal emotion for caregivers. It does not always follow the rules of logic, but it is neither good nor bad. The way we handle our feelings of fear is important. Ignored or mismanaged fear can become crippling so that caregivers may become unable to cope with their responsibilities in a positive manner.
  • Coping with Loss: Caregivers may experience many types of loss, including relationships and social or recreational interaction with friends, spouse, coworkers, and children. As these relationships change or are lost, caregivers may experience many feelings of isolation.
  • Grief in Caregiving: Grief is universal, yet each person experiences it in her own way. Grief is a personal response, and there are no guidelines for how long, when, and in what way a person should grieve.
  • After the Death: The death of someone close to you often leaves a variety of strong emotions, unresolved issues, and uncertainties about how to cope. Feelings of frustration or guilt may cause caregivers to question if they did enough or gave enough.
  • Changing Relationships in Caregiving: As family members age and become more dependent, family caregivers may experience many emotions. Some are new, and some are carryovers from past experiences. As you take on the role of caregiver, you may experience changes in your relationship with the care receiver.
  • Family Dynamics in Distance Caregiving: If distance separates you from family members, you may find yourself supporting a parent or other relative who lives many miles away. You may face challenges that include communicating effectively with caregivers from a distance, feeling that you are not doing enough, and balancing care for yourself with care of others. This can bring on feelings of guilt and frustration.
  • Caregivers Need Family Support: When caring for an adult family member, the primary caregiver provides physical, psychological, financial, and other forms of assistance. Caregiving may involve having the caregiver and the care receiver living together, nearby, or hundreds of miles away. No matter how loving the relationship, caregiving almost always involves some personal sacrifice and stress.
  • Recognizing Your Limitations: Caring for someone can be a challenging and lonely undertaking. Many caregivers experience frustration, anger, impatience, and/or loneliness. These feelings may indicate that something needs to change. Recognizing how much you can do is the first step to managing the situation.
  • Asking For Help as Caregiver: It’s so easy to become isolated you lose sight of your own life when you provide care for someone else. As a caregiver, you may feel overwhelmed with responsibilities. These barriers can lead to distress, loneliness, and exhaustion. You can become a second patient if you aren’t careful.
  • Take a Break and Find Respite Care: The roles and responsibilities you have as a caregiver can be overwhelming. The hours spent in caregiving often leave little time for leisure and getting away for a while. If you don’t take the time for respite, you may become ill.
  • Intimacy in Caregiving: Those in a partner relationship may find themselves caring for each other more and more as needs change. Or sometimes one partner becomes more dependent and the healthier partner becomes the primary caregiver. In either situation, the couple relationship may be impacted.
  • Nurturing Couple Relationships: Caregivers frequently find it challenging to balance the caregiving responsibilities with time for other family members. Responsibilities for parents, children and partners are squeezing caregivers who are in the “sandwich generation.” Demands on the caregiver may leave little time and energy for partners. Many caregivers say they gain strength for caregiving from personal relationships.

 

Parenting

  • Thinking Through Children's Screen Time: Screens are not going away, and all of us can work to ensure we are intentional about our use, and our non-use, of screens for the good of our children and our families. How much screen time is okay for kids? The current wisdom from the American Academy of Pediatrics is based on age, content, and other activities of the child.
  • Communicating with Children in Stressful Times: It takes time to help children understand current events and the impact they have on our nation, community, and world. Continued conversations are necessary, but how do we do this without stressing everyone out?
  • Helping Children Cope in Times of Stress: Family stress rises when times get tough. Health crisis, financial stress, disruption to normal daily routines, uncertainty about national issues, and more can cause stress for children and adults. Communication has two parts — talking and listening. Each must occur for communication to be successful.
  • Helping Teens Deal with Disappointment: The teenage years revolve around friends, school, family, sports, and events. We may not always recognize what could warrant disappointment. Allow your teenager to experience frustration.
  • In the Moment: Building Resiliency: Resilience is how we deal with difficult situations or adversity. Seeing the good in difficult situations is not an easy task but can be very helpful when trying to move forward.
  • In the Moment: Changing Relationships: Developing self-esteem and understanding complex emotions supports healthy relationship development. Caring adults serving as role models can encourage permanent, positive effects for the future by providing support and encouragement.
  • In the Moment: Building Self Esteem: As youth are developing socially, emotionally, and physically, it’s important to develop good self-esteem-building habits early on. 
  • In the Moment: Building Social Awareness: One of the most important skills you can learn to improve your social awareness is to develop empathy.
  • In the Moment: Instilling a Sense of Purpose: Purpose is defined as a strong, stable sense of commitment to something that is meaningful to you and makes a difference in the world around you.
  • In the Moment: Developing Healthy Habits: The choices we make shape our lives. Be intentional about forming positive habits to live a healthier life. 

Relationships