Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Family Grows Testy in Close Quarters

DEAR HARRIETTE: Being able to spend more time with my family during quarantine has been great. However, as time wears on, we are all beginning to get on each other's nerves, and fights between family members have increased. I don’t want our home to be a hostile environment or family tensions to rise during this time. How can we work with this limited space and these restrictions to make a more civil and understanding home environment? -- Making Space

DEAR MAKING SPACE: You are singing the song of our times! As much as family members may love each other, too much togetherness can be too much. I recommend calling a family meeting and talking it out. Key word: talking. Agree not to yell or hurl accusations. Set the engagement terms so that everybody knows you are meeting to figure out ways to keep the peace during this incredibly stressful period.

Designate times and areas in the home that can be reserved for each family member -- to create space. Agree that you don’t always have to talk. Establish usage rules around common areas and technology, particularly the TV and the bathroom. Give everyone chores so that keeping the house clean doesn’t land on one person’s shoulders. Figure out safe ways to venture outside for fresh air and alone time.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Covid 19