How to get on with family members during the coronavirus

Almost one week since the official lockdown and how is life in your home? You may be on your own. Is this bliss or are you lonely? Do you have your whole family around and if so, how are you getting along? Perhaps you're missing your grown-up children or elderly parents who live away. Whether you live in a small flat or big, detached house this Coronavirus will be testing you to your limits.


Is your house more lord of the flies or the waltons?

Relationships can make or break you. So what can you do in your space when you are sharing it with others?

Respect: We all need to respect each other's space. All that nagging from before to get up for school, spend time together and tidy up. How about having a break? Structure and routine have its place and so does eating together, however, during this new life we're living, it might be easier to let each member in the house find their own way of negotiating how they get through this.  

Try creating a flow of positive energy. Do your own thing. Let other members join in when they want to. Maybe eat small meals when you feel the need without waste. Use your imagination for being creative and finding solutions to difficulties. Shouting, arguing, moodiness and self-centredness will just create toxicity and left unchecked can lead to catastrophe. We could well be in this for a good few weeks yet.

Perhaps we should ensure we are getting our emotional needs met.

Security: this will be low, as we don't know if we'll get ill, how our finances will last and our relationships may be suffering. What practical things can we do to improve this? Attention: we are having to share attention. This is something we can discuss with our family members. We are all equal and we all deserve the same amount of attention, giving and receiving.  

Control: there is a lot we can control in a time when there seems like it's slipping from our grasp. We can control our temper. We can control when we get up, when we eat, which activities we do, when we exercise.

Status:  this may not be the time for hierarchies in the family. We all need status.

Intimacy: this just means having one other person who accepts us warts and all. Someone we can talk to, maybe outside the family. There's the phone, WhatsApp, Skype, e-mail, FaceTime.  

Meaning and purpose: having a reason to get up in the morning. We need to survive and we may be protecting our family. When this is all over we will have something to get back to or begin afresh. This is the time to plan for the future.

Competency and achievement: with a lot of time on our hands, this could be the ideal time to learn something new or read that huge book you've been putting off. Tackle the messy cupboard or garage and how about tidying up your garden if you have one? Even in a small living space, there is always something you can do. I remember when I used to get bored in the clothes shop I worked in, I used to deliberately mess it all up so I could tidy it up again. Honest!

Privacy: you could take it in turns to spend some quiet time in one place where you live. Just to get some peace and quiet and if you're getting too much peace and quiet then use all the methods of communication at your disposal and the television. Time to catch up on those favourite old films, cookery programmes or Youtube tutorials.

Let us work together with patience and love. When this is all over we can look back and reflect on how well we handled ourselves or we can survey a baron landscape because our tribe decided to destroy ourselves. We have a choice. Waltons or Flies? Goodnight Mary Ellen...

If you think you could benefit from speaking to an expert about family issues you can use our search tool to find a professional therapist offering help in this area. Many therapists now offer online and telephone support.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Frome BA11 & Reigate RH2
Written by Sally Nilsson, HG.Dip.P,, Hyp. Cert. CS. MNCS (Accred) Psychotherapist
Frome BA11 & Reigate RH2

I am a Human Givens Psychotherapist, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist. I'm also a published author and Public Speaker and I am committed to breaking taboos on mental health in our communities and promoting good mental health as we support our physical health

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