Family breakdowns are something that happens a lot more than you think. With Christmas just passing and now entering a new year it can put a real strain on many families. Last year was certainly a very stressful time for many and here’s to hoping that 2021 will be better. A new year can be very difficult for many and around this time it may be a time that families struggle a lot more. It can be really difficult to have to go through a family breakdown and can cause negative impacts on your mental health and of course, feeling stressed. As well as the current restrictions, this can also be having a major impact on families as well as finance and much more. 

It’s very hard for an individual that is living somewhere, where a family breakdown is taking place and can often make them feel really lonely and might make them want to leave. As well as the parents in the situation, it can be very hard sometimes to push through the hardships and some people struggle with that. But, what is so important throughout it, is to not ever use children as weapons, try to rekindle things and try ways to make it work but never force something, no matter how hard it is. 

blue green and red plastic clothes pin

What are some types of situations that cause family stress?

There are quite a lot of things that can cause stresses for families, which can then lead to family breakdowns and that can be really difficult. It doesn’t even have to be in relation to relationships, it can also be to do with money and the overall stresses that put strains on families. Then there is of course divorce, which puts the child in an awkward position because one of the parents might not want them seeing the other. Not only that but it could also be in regards to toxic family members or friends who try and come in between you both.

Here are a few:

  • Children who may not get to see the other parent
  • A relationship breakdown
  • Divorce
  • Financial strain
  • Not having a routine or structure
  • Family members only wanting to know you when they need something
  • Toxic behaviour
  • Being around family members you may not get along with
  • Loss of job
  • The death of a loved one
  • Chronic illness
  • Traumatic event

Relationship breakdowns happen more often than we think and with Christmas just been, that can especially be the hardest time for families. At certain celebrations or festivities, family members may start to get back in touch with you even though they haven’t spoken to you in ages. Or, this could happen in a sense of they only want to know you when they want something, but when you need someone to chat too, they’re never there. There are some family members out there who can be quite toxic, which is something that many people would rather not be around, but sometimes it can cause conflict and put people in awkward situations. With this, it’s important to realise not to let negativity enter your home and it doesn’t matter if they’re family or not, negative people bring you down and that is not what you need.

For some situations it may be that your parents are going through a divorce, this means that it can be really hard for the child at hand. Because, they don’t really know what the outcome will be and of course this can then cause anxiety, because of the change they will have to go through, due to life not feeling very normal anymore. Change can be very tough on anyone and to have to go through a divorce or even watch it come to that decision, is a huge change to have to go through. The hard thing is that some parents might use their children as ‘weapons’. This is such a toxic behaviour and is so hard on the child, the parents shouldn’t be using their child as a way to get out their insecurities and what they’re jealous of.

It should not be about manipulating the child, it should be about coming to a decision that isn’t going against one another. It should be about instead focusing on their happiness and in turn making it a more comfortable situation for everyone, even though it may be hard. The impact of divorce is such a hard thing to go through. But, it’s important to know that you should never pressure anyone into choosing and who is their ‘favourite’ because they’re already going through so much and will not need the added upset.

Having to go through grief can be another reasoning behind family breakdowns, of course, this is not always the case, but can happen. Grieving for someone can cause people to shut off their feelings, they can feel very numb and often just not want to interact with others. It is one of the hardest things to have to go through, this could put a strain on families because someone is being affected massively by the loss, leading them to not feel interested in what they used to enjoy and just feeling really upset and possibly angry and they could, in turn, take it out on the people they live with. Grieving is a tough process to go through and of course, the person needs to have many around them and not have any negativity surrounding them, be gentle with someone when they’re grieving, even though it can be difficult.

orange and white egg on stainless steel rack

Ways to cope 

Family members: The truth is you may not get on with certain people, but someone else in your family might, so it can cause it to be quite awkward in a sense. But, you’re the only one that can control your behaviour, you can either chose to bite your tongue and try to get on with it. Or, you can decide to take yourself away from them and talk to someone else, or just limit your time with them. It’s not selfish to put your mental health first if these people make you feel down, but it might be hard to not have to interact with them, so be sure to make sure you’re listening to your mental health first and with that do what is best for you.

Self-care: Another great way to cope with family stress, is self-care. It pretty much helps with anything, if you’re feeling down or stressed and you just want to take your mind off things for a little while. Then invest into self-care, something quick could be getting out for a walk and trying some relaxation techniques, perhaps some yoga, or just doing something that calms you down. But, getting outside will help massively, because it will calm you down as you walk the stress off and the fresh air will help loads. Treat yourself to something nice, perhaps a nice bubble bath, or curl up and watch your favourite film. Another great form of self-care is putting yourself first and saying no, if you don’t feel like getting yourself into the situation, don’t feel like you have to do what everyone tells you too, put yourself first and make your own decisions.

Emotional stressors: It’s important to find out exactly what is causing you to feel stressed and emotional.  Don’t put yourself in situations you don’t want to be in, around this time of year, you must put your mental health first as you should all the time. Realise what is upsetting you and how you’re expressing them. Be there for yourself, don’t push yourself too much and make sure you don’t let others trigger you. Check-in on your emotions always and realise what you can do to not get yourself into a situation that makes you feel hurt and triggered in a way. Don’t surround yourself with negativity, make sure to put your emotions first and be kind to yourself.

Relationship breakdowns: One of the hardest things to go through is a relationship breakdown, this could be a breakup or a divorce. The thing is at Christmas time it can be even harder to cope with, not only for the parents but any children that are involved. It’s important if you’re going through one to give yourself plenty of time, don’t feel you have to put on a fake smile and be completely jolly. You’re going through a lot and it’s not easy. Invest in self-care, try and remember the good times you had and the good memories, don’t just reminisce on the bad times, because this can feel very draining. Make sure to take care of your mind and your body, you’re going through a lot of stress and it will have a huge impact on them.

If you’re struggling so much, don’t just hide it and go with it alone, make sure to reach out and speak to someone you trust, explain to others what you’re going through, they’ll understand, talk to a professional if you need too. Try not to go down a route of lashing out and being toxic with one another, this is such a negative way to deal with what is happening, don’t put children in a situation they don’t want to be in and making them pick who they want to see, you have to be there for them, whilst also trying to keep an in someway positive connection with the other person, even if that is just for the children, it’s what needs to happen.

Financial strain: Another part of family stress can be to do with finance, it can be a very difficult time of year and it can be extremely difficult for families. Make sure to track your spending, identify what exactly is stressing you out and make a plan, remember what’s important. Of course, it’s absolutely fine to want to treat yourself every once in a while, but it’s also vital that you come up with some kind of budget plan work out what you need, what you have and go with that. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed by money, spend what you can and don’t feel bad if you can’t get exactly what people want.

Click here for more information on creating a budget.


If you’re looking for any online counselling or walk and talk therapy whether you’re a parent and you’re looking for your children. You yourself need it or you’re a student or anyone that is struggling at this time, then please do not hesitate to contact Becky. You can access contact details here. Check out the website for more information.

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