It’s challenging to navigate through family conversations that revolve around sensitive topics, including health issues. Even though you are related, it’s inevitable to have different beliefs on certain matters.
This also applies to the issue of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019). You may have family members who believe that the recommended health protocols are not necessary or that the disease is not as bad as people say it is.
Let’s talk about how you can effectively communicate with family members who have different value systems regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Engage in Active Listening
There will be fewer conflicts in your family if every member actively listens to one another, and everyone feels that they have been heard by everybody else. Even if you cannot resolve your clashes with one night of talking, it still helps to relieve the tension by gaining an understanding of the issues and perspectives involved with this complex and novel virus.
Here are a few ways to practice active listening:
- Stay attentive. Do not let your thoughts stray from the conversation, since this might prevent you from understanding their arguments.
- Let them talk, and focus on what they are saying. Refrain from rebutting all the time, for this will only spark a more heated discussion.
- If you missed something, do not hesitate to ask. You may also try to clarify whether you understood their point correctly. You can do this by repeating the statement you heard, and ask whether what you said was right.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a multifaceted concern. It’s not only a health issue, but also a mental, economic, political, and emotional issue. There are many perspectives to consider, so make sure to listen to their input to broaden your knowledge and understand how they’ve been evaluating everything involved.
Start with Trustworthy Sources
Communicating with a family member who is much older or younger than you can be challenging, especially if they tend to be stubborn. Some family members are also not ready to listen to information that goes against what they have been hearing in the news or on the internet.
Talk to each other about the doctors you’ve all heard speak on TV or the internet, and what their input has been, and their own experience with patients who have COVID-19. Stick with doctors’ perspectives, because the scientists have been disagreeing with each other (which is typical and healthy), and political groups have been swayed by financial or political gain. Doctors who are treating COVID-19 patients do not disagree with the facts.
Look for Common Ground
It’s not about disagreements all the time. You’ll definitely have areas on which you agree with each other. Therefore, make sure not to react strongly instantly. Let them talk and share their beliefs on COVID-19. This way, you know your common ground, which you can use as a jumping-off point for a more in-depth discussion.
For instance, you may not agree with how the government is handling the health crisis. Some of you might feel that wearing a mask is necessary, but others may not believe it helps. However, underneath all of these arguments, you have the same overall goal: to keep every member of the family safe and healthy. Once you have established that common ground, the conversation may feel less intense.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
The best way to address the anxiety you’re feeling is to stay in control of your thoughts. Do not be swayed by the stressors around you, and keep your cool. If you start to feel an upset stomach, a tightening in your chest, shortness of breath, or irritability, take a step back. Close your eyes and count to ten.
In addition to taking care of yourself, be mindful of the people around you to avoid conflicts from escalating. They may display the same symptoms as you, but there’s a chance that you’ll notice it with the way they talk. If they’re already uttering statements like, “We’re all gonna die in this pandemic,” or “I don’t want to listen to you anymore,” halt the conversation and let them clear their heads. Pushing your message onto them can only make them ignore you more.
Achieve Family Harmony with RIVIA Medical
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant changes in our lives. In fact, it has made many things more complicated. It has affected all of us as individuals, families, and communities.
If you feel that you have done all the steps above but you still haven’t achieved family harmony due to your clashing value systems, then seek a professional’s help. Here at RIVIA Medical, we believe that resolving family conflicts is a worthy process. Our services involve personalized treatment for our patients through quality, evidence-based methods. Our treatment promotes collaboration and productivity for our patients.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, you may call us at (212) 203-1773, or book an appointment directly here and our friendly staff will reach out to you. In line with the ongoing health crisis, we also offer telehealth services. We look forward to seeing you.