Support Available for Healthy Family Relationships
In the lead up to the Christmas period families are reassured that there is help and advice available to support them in managing family conflict and to promote positive and healthy relationships.
No matter how much people are looking forward to seeing their family, Christmas can be a time when arguments break out and tensions resurface. Add into the mix a year where there may have been job insecurity and in which people may have been forced to isolate together and reduce contact outside the home, and it is easy to see how problems can magnify.
One of most common sources of family stress are financial worries and with current pressures, families may be worried about the expense of Christmas gift giving and festivities. It is so easy to get caught up with presents, stressing about buying the right gift or buying lots of presents. This year why not agree to give just one gift or organise a Secret Santa to cut out the stress? Making a promise with others to not give gifts is another way of easing money worry. Alternatively, charity shops have been overwhelmed with donations this year from lockdown clear-outs, so there might just be a hidden treasure or two.
For those who are really struggling, the Essential Living Fund provides emergency help to pay for energy, water, food or other household essentials and anyone over 16 financially affected by the pandemic can apply.
Spending time outdoors has lots of benefits including reducing stress. Go out for a walk around the local park, neighbourhood or one of the many public footpaths and explore Essex. Alternatively, Active Essex are on hand with lots of stress busting activities the whole family can enjoy.
On its social channels Essex County Council will be posting some video content encouraging parents to ‘see it differently’. The video will help parents to recognise the conflict in their lives and how, unintentionally, it effects children. It will teach new ways of managing it for the benefit of everyone in the family and advise how to reduce conflict through a ‘Think, Pause, Resolve It’ approach.
For parents that may need more support to manage conflict, the Parenting Together programme is available and can be accessed through a self-referral option. Tavistock lead on this programme for Essex, along with Homestart and Relate and continue to work with parents through videoconferencing or telephone calls.
For cases where conflict has escalated to abuse, refuges will remain open over the Christmas period and those affected should seek help rather than stay in a dangerous situation. The County Council website has links to organisations that can help.