Do you have a loved one who is currently going through a tough time, or who has been going through one for a while now? Whether it’s a son or daughter, mother or father, or another person, as their family we feel it is our duty to support them. So how can we do this in a way that is productive and helpful? How can we support them in a valuable way that is not detrimental to ourselves?
First of all, you need to analyze if your own support can be enough. If so, great. There are many options available to you. It may just be that they <ahref=”http://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2012/11/09/10-steps-to-effective-listening/#6191999826fb”rel=”external do follow”>need a listening ear. Ask them questions about how they are doing, and then sit back and listen. Don’t interrupt or insert your own opinion. Resist the temptation to tell them about a story relating to you, or remind them of a time when you went through a similar experience. That can be helpful and healing, but that needs to come later. Now, you just need to listen and let them talk for as long as they need to.
Alternatively, it may be that the support is less passive and more active. Let’s say your loved one has just gone through a divorce. Helping them in making active and positive changes can make all the difference. Maybe a change of scenery would help them come to terms with their new life. Perhaps it would give them a new perspective, and a fresh start. If this is the case, you can do anything from suggesting a trip to organizing it all! You could stay close to home, and book yourself in for a spa weekend. Or maybe even go on a one week vacation to a foreign country.
However, it may, in fact, be the case that your support is not enough. It could be that you are not in a position to give this. Or that you have already gone down that road, and tried that, and it has not had enough of an impact. If this is the case, consider drafting in the support of someone or something else.
Of course, what this is depends on what the issue is that they are struggling with. So, one example might be an elderly family memberwho is lonely. Rather than the onus being on your to visit and take care of them all the time, how about hiring some senior companion care. Or perhaps your family member is struggling with addiction? Then perhaps the services and positive environment of an affordable rehab is what you should be looking at.
There are other, more active ways you can also show support for a struggling family member. Ones that don’t involve getting on a plane either, or hiring outside services! Consider if a big cleaning session and clear-out of their home could help them get that ‘spring-clean’ feeling in their life. Consider if they could do with making some new friends. If so, take them along to a class or gathering where they can do exactly that.