How you handle a crisis in your family will determine its future. It will not only determine the future of each member of your family, but it will also impact the unity of your family.
If you handle the crisis well, then your family will survive and thrive. Conversely, if you handle it poorly, your family may still survive as a social structure, but the event will forever scar it.
While you obviously intend to handle it as best you can, you might not always achieve the right results because you feel helpless and don’t know what to do.
In a family crisis, when you are at your wit’s end on what to do and recognize that you don’t have the knowledge and resources to turn things around, then there are two approaches to take that will make it far easier to navigate the storm. And, rather than simply opting for one approach, it’s best to use both approaches.
The first approach is to ask for help from people professionally qualified to provide it. The second approach is to have a supportive, rather than a contentious, influence on your family members.
When to Ask for Professional Help
When you don’t know what to do it’s often because you don’t have the knowledge, experience, skills and training to provide an adequate solution. You may need to turn to a professional to get the answers that you need to resolve the crisis.
Here are two examples to clarify the benefits of professional assistance in a crisis:
1. How to Handle a Mental Health Crisis
Imagine that your son or daughter confesses to you that they have a substance abuse addiction. What should you do? While you might be tempted to suggest a solution, you have to remember that no amount of ad hoc parenting advice will make much of a difference.
What you need is professional help. A psychiatrist or psychotherapist will know how to identify the cause of the crisis, how to manage it, and how to de-escalate it. They will also help you re-establish rapport with your child and heal dysfunctional family behaviors that triggered the crisis. If counseling is not enough, they may recommend that you send your child to a teen substance abuse center to take part in a comprehensive therapeutic program.
2. How to Handle a Legal Crisis
Legal help may not always be necessary to solve a problem but it may be better than doing things yourself. For instance, after a car accident, you don’t legally need an attorney to file an accident report. But if you don’t know what to do because of your limited understanding about insurance law, then you will be far better off filing a car accident claim through an attorney.
It’s often a mistake to muddle through a legal situation. This is especially true if the other party has the benefit of legal representation–because this will put you at a disadvantage. It’s better to pay an attorney’s fees that try to represent you.
Be There for Your Family
While getting professional help may help you overcome the crisis, your family also needs you to be there for them through the crisis. In other words, show them how much you care rather than presume they know.
Your family will need you to help them take back control of the part of their life that has changed for the worse. They will need you to help them recover from the shock of the crisis and return to normal life.
As the head of the household, your job is not to freak out when things go wrong. Rather than try to do everything yourself, ask for the professional help you need to resolve the crisis. And, rather than scold the family member who precipitated the crisis or bemoan the fallout of the crisis, you need to point out the brighter side of things without denying the reality of what happened.