Modern Families : Tough Times?
You might know that on Monday a Queensland father and his little boy died at the Story Bridge. Normally I try not to blog about stuff like that. It’s a freaking awful tragedy. I don’t like blogging about terrible things. I sort of feel like it’s none of my business too. But the thing is, it’s not the first time something like this has happened. And I feel a bit helpless. And I want to talk about it.
My feeling is heartbreaking dramas are unfolding in homes across the country every day. I’m pretty sure that while tragic incidents like the Storey Bridge ones are at the extreme end of the scale, that there are thousands of families all over Australia (and indeed the world) suffering through difficulty and conflict, and trying hard to stay together, especially in these tough economic times.
Couples and families who are experiencing financial, personal or relationship issues tend to keep quiet. People often wait until breaking point or beyond to seek help. The pressure to be a ‘Happy Family’ or a ‘Cute Couple’ and to keep things together can mean that people suffer in silence. And suffer they do.
‘Good’ relationships are held in high esteem. Trickier relationships are hidden. Swept under the carpet. Judged. So we tend to mimic the ‘Good’ model, even if things aren’t good. And if things aren’t good, and we’re pretending they are, it’s awfully hard to ask for help when we need it.
Personally, throughout my 18 year relationship, there have been all kinds of challenges and difficulties. Some of them financial, some of them inter personal, some of them circumstantial. I’ve pushed my way through the highs and lows with support from my family and friends. I think that’s how relationships can be. So far I’m doing okay, I’ve weathered all that’s been thrown in my direction, as has my family. Go me. Yay for us.
But what if you don’t have the kind of support I’m lucky enough to have. Or what if you are unable to ask for help? What about when things break down and one partner wants to leave the relationship? And the other doesn’t want to be left behind? What about situations where there are mental health issues or a child involved? Things get complicated and heart breaking. Even the most stoic person may lose their bundle when faced with having to part with their child for extended periods due to relationship breakdown. And relationships break down over all kinds of issues, as we know.
I guess what I’m wondering is how we can change things? Do we need to work harder to keep families together? Should we launch an awareness campaign, encouraging families to ask for help when they need it? Do we need more money invested into counselling and support services? Are most issues ‘fixable’ with the right support, or are irreconcilable differences more common than we think?
Has your family gone through difficult times? Have you weathered family crisis? Had a lot on your plate? Did you get the help you needed? Is it easy to ask for help? I think it isn’t. How can we fix that? Do you know of families who are experiencing tough times?
How is it for you, JustBees? (Anonymous comments are welcome, if you’d like to share something personal)
Lifeline’s 24/7 number is 13 11 14
Beyond Blue can be contacted via 1300 22 4636 or email@example.com
PS : Top image : Family Bike Print via Etsy