While sometimes a death in the family can bring out the best in people, offering compassion, support and assistance, it can unfortunately bring out the worst in others as well, making them behave uncharacteristically, and causing strife in the family that they often regret later. This is actually quite common, and rest assured, a little understanding can go a long way.
Here’s how you can try to keep your family’s focus on coming together in love and support instead of divided during this difficult time:
Consider the value in others’ opinions
Sometimes a family argument can be nipped in the bud if you simply take the time to understand each other’s motives. Refrain from getting angry if someone doesn’t agree with something and instead, listen to their reasoning. Many times it’s possible to compromise and come up with a solution that makes everyone happy.
Channel disruptive behavior
If everyone who wants to be involved is in some way, it allows each to feel a sense of contribution and control. Calmly decide together on who should do what. If people have assigned jobs, they are less likely to meddle, take over, or behave in ways that upset others.
This seems obvious, but when emotions and stress levels run high and hours of sleep are low, sometimes kindness and patience is difficult to muster. If you feel yourself getting angry, try to take a deep breath or count to ten, then calmly state how what’s happening is making you feel. Speaking kindly to each other will relax the situation and enable you to better work things out.
Cut each other a little slack
Realizing that everyone is dealing with the death in his or her own way can help you to overlook some negative behaviors that may arise. If you are able to allow some things to slide knowing they are likely the result of exhaustion and grief, you will be able to keep conflicts to a minimum and forgive and forget much more easily later.
Focus on your loved one
Remembering why you have all come together in the first place can really change everyone’s perspective. Try your best to focus on what your loved one would want - certainly not a family fight! Remind family members of this fact and switch to sharing happy memories together whenever bickering begins.
At Sytsema, we are experienced in dealing with changes in family dynamics during the loss of a loved one and are dedicated to helping families find peace together as they grieve. If your family needs help, or you need someone to talk to or just have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. For more information on family dynamics, download our free ebook. We want you to have all the tools you need to make saying goodbye to your loved one as comforting and peaceful as possible.