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Family Stress

Family Stress

According to Benjamin Franklin, ‘The reality is that family goes through changes.’ Everyone in the family including children, parents change often for the better. Sometimes families also expect to endure unpleasant life events such as death and illness in the family. Usually, these events develop feelings of hurt, frustration, anger, and depression which lead to stress among family members. 

In the family, one may encounter marital conflict, sibling conflict, or parent-child conflict resulting in family stress. In relational-cultural theory, family stress and illness can elevate experiences of low self-esteem, disempowerment, inability to tolerate difference, tension, feeling locked up or locked out in a relationship, self-doubt, and increased isolation.

Numerous family stress theories emerged in the 1930s and 1940s. Out of all, the most influential family stress theory (ABC-X theory) was proposed by Hill (1958) and was taken ahead by Burr (1973) and McCubbin and Patterson (1983). 

Triggers of Family Stress

  • When the family goes through an important life change such as divorce or the death of a loved one.
  • When someone in the family is the caregiver in the family.
  • When a family experiences financial stress.
  • When a family welcomes a new member or raises children.
  • When the family becomes homeless due to one or the other reason.
  • When someone juggles several things at once such as work, family, and school.
  • When the family goes through chronic health problems.
  • When a family relocates, it can generate a lot of stress within the family.

Forms of Emotional Family Distress

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Crying
  • Lack of sleep or insomnia
  • Depression
  • Dishonor

 Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Family Distress

As a result of emotional family distress, Family members might.

  • Feel heaviness in their heart.
  • Experience chest pain or an increase in their heartbeat.
  • Experience shoulder, neck, back pain, headaches, general body aches, etc.
  • Grind their teeth or do clenching.
  • Feel shortness of breath and dizziness.
  • Feel tired, anxious, or depressed.
  • Undergo behavioral and emotional changes.
  • Face difficulty in controlling emotions.
  • Get angry or hostile and forecast outbursts like yelling or making aggressive comments.
  • Withdraw self from social gatherings and show expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness, crying or tearfulness. 

Different Ways of Coping with Family Stress

  • Eradicate anxious thoughts from the mind and stay positive or neutral.
  • Give oneself permission to accept the change and become determined to allow the change in self and family.
  • Create a ‘worry period’ in 24 hours instead of spoiling the whole day worrying about problems.
  • If possible, get into the habit of writing and pen down the worries to get relief from the baggage of worries.
  • Practice meditation or deep breathing to relax both mind and soul to become optimistic.

The Bottom Line

Every family change; therefore, stress is evident in the family. There can be more than one reason for stress among family members. To keep the family healthy and long-lasting, every member of the family tries to overcome every change and hardship with ease and determination. One should remember that pain, change, and stress is inevitable parts of every family.

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About The Author

Priyanka Ohri

Ms. Priyanka Ohri is a Human Developmentalist. She is pursuing a master's in Human development from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai and sustains a graduation degree in home science with a specialization in Human development from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University. She is an empathetic listener and an articulate writer. Her work has been published online on-site Icy Tales and Icy Canada. She has also contributed to two e-magazines (aces magazine and damnfit magazine) by writing articles on topics, ‘why forgiving is gratifying’ and ‘how do we interact with each other’. She believes in imparting her knowledge on Human development subjects.

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