Health Library ~ Family Medicine in Mullica Hill, NJ

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Stress is an inevitable part of living.  People not only cope with it at their jobs, but also within their homes.  There are approximately 20 million families with either a single working parent, or two working parents according to "Investing in Child Care," a 1998 United States Treasury Report.  Parents endure demanding schedules where they strive to balance the responsibilities of their jobs and their homes.  Like their parents, children also experience stress.  Children may feel stress from schoolwork, athletics, and their social lives.  In addition, events that directly affect the entire family such as the arrival of a new baby, or fights between siblings or parents inflict stress upon all family members.  It is important to realize and examine how these stressful situations affect the family
as a whole, not just the individual.

"The key to maintaining a healthy and productive family is learning, as a unit, how to manage stress," says Craig M. Wax, D.O., an osteopathic family physician.  "The first step that families need to take is to learn about the different things that are happening in each otherís lives."  Knowing what family members do throughout the day provides a better understanding of the way they feel and behave.

In addition to understanding the potentially stressful events that each member experiences, it is important to discuss events that affect the entire family.  Find out how each member views an issue that is occurring within the home.  Does everyone view it as important, or do they agree that it is insignificant?  Or is everyone in complete disagreement?  Learning each family memberís view will provide a better understanding of the level of stress they are experiencing.

Once family members have discussed their points of view concerning an issue, they may then examine the different options, resources, and limitations that are available to them.  According to Dr. Wax, these include the familyís communication patterns, their ability to solve problems, their goals, money, relatives and friends, and services in the community.  After looking at these factors together, families should then decide on a plan of action using their resources.  Talking about each family memberís concerns, then looking at the options available, will allow families to work through their problems together to effectively manage their stress.
"While it is important for family members to interact when managing stressful situations, it is also important for them to regularly participate in activities that promote interaction," explains Dr. Wax.  "Going on a weekend trip, playing a game of basketball, or seeing a movie are all relatively simple and enjoyable activities that promote family interaction."  A family who engages in these activities will feel more comfortable communicating their concerns when a stressful event or situation arises.

Dr. Wax emphasizes that behaviors that attempt to mask or ignore problems only increase levels of stress among family members.  Open lines of communication along with behavior that promotes love and support will enable a family to successfully manage their lives and their stress.

Craig M. Wax, DO, LLC of Mullica Hill, NJ provides information on health, nutrition, family medicine, preventive medicine, wellness, natural treatments, alternative medicine, integrative medicine, osteopathic medicine and just plain common sense.
Craig M. Wax, D.O., L.L.C. © 2014 ~ All Rights Reserved