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          How Families Can Overcome Difficult Times

          September 08, 2003

          When a family is in crisis, it is easy to become trapped beneath a mountain of problems. In order to crawl out from underneath that pain, there are choices and sacrifices that must be made. Dr. Phil offers suggestions for what families must do to survive a crisis and move forward.

          Set blame aside.
          This is not the time for finger pointing. Your energy needs to be focused on solving problems, not assigning blame. Feelings like anger and resentment need to be put aside so that the family can work together on fixing the problems at hand.

          Prioritize your problems.
          When dealing with more than one family problem, tackle the most pressing issue first, and then move on to others. Surmounting one problem at a time is key to moving successfully through a crisis.

          Stand in others’ shoes.
          During a highly emotional and tense time, it’s easy to get lost in your own emotions and forget about other people. You need to imagine how each person involved in the situation is feeling to understand the whole problem and figure out the best solution.

          Re-engineer the family unit.
          If the family unit you have established for yourselves isn’t working, you have to change the way you all operate. Does a parent give more attention to one child? Does one sibling communicate more than another? A shift in the family dynamic could be an important step toward healing.

          Recognize that everyone’s affected.
          What happens to one family member happens to the entire family. When you focus only on the person in need, you are dealing with half the situation. Be sure that everyone has the chance to talk about how they feel.

          Don’t get stuck in the past.
          What’s done is done. Instead of wasting time wishing you had handled things differently, start changing your behavior today and concentrate on your family’s future.

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