Navigating difficult family dynamics can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Sometimes, dealing with family stressors can take a toll on your mental health and overall well-being.

Hi I’m Ali Litavsky, a therapist at Cedar Tree Counseling, and in this article, I’ll share five tips on how to navigate difficult family dynamics.


Tip #1 – Don’t Avoid Conflict

Avoiding conflict with a family member may seem like the easier option, but it only leads to more stress and tension. Addressing the issue in a calm and respectful manner is more productive. By confronting the problem, you create an opportunity for open communication and finding a solution together.


Tip #2 – Practice Active Listening

Listening to others with empathy and understanding is crucial in any relationship. When communicating with family members, try to put yourself in their shoes, and truly listen to their perspective.

For example, if your family member is upset because they feel like they’re not being heard, you could say something like, “It sounds like you’re feeling frustrated because you don’t feel like your opinions are being taken into account.” This shows that you’re actively listening and trying to understand their perspective.


Tip #3 – Set Boundaries

Boundaries are limits that protect your emotional and physical needs and set the expectations for how you want to be treated in a relationship. Communicate clearly and respectfully with your family members about what behaviors or treatment are unacceptable for you, and uphold those boundaries.

For example, you can set a boundary with a family member about not entering your room without your permission or calling before visiting.

Additionally, you can set boundaries around communication by expressing the need for respectful language or not tolerating verbal abuse. It’s important to communicate these boundaries clearly and respectfully to ensure that they are understood and upheld.


Tip #4 – Focus On What You Can Control

Family dynamics often involve multiple parties, which may lead to frustration and helplessness. Instead of focusing on what you can’t control, such as other people’s actions, focus on what you can control – your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

This can include taking the time to reflect on your own thoughts and feelings before engaging in conversations or interactions with family members. Or, practicing self-care activities, such as exercising, meditating, or spending time with friends, to prioritize your own emotional and physical needs.

Taking care of oneself can lead to feeling empowered and in control.


Tip #5 – Seek External Support

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to address the challenge, it may feel too overwhelming or complex to handle. Seeking external support from a licensed mental health professional can provide the tools, insight, and guidance needed to cope and create meaningful change in your familial dynamic.


Navigating difficult family dynamics is never easy, but following these tips can steer you in the right direction towards creating a more harmonious and healthy familial relationship. Remember to practice patience, compassion, and forgiveness with yourself and family members, build on progress, and celebrate successes along the way!

And if you find that you need additional support, click the link below this video to schedule an appointment today. We’re here to help.


Ali Litavsky

Ali Litavsky


I understand the complexities and struggles kids face today, and I believe they can be overcome. That’s why I provide a safe space for children and their families that fosters emotional well-being and lasting resilience.

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There are a lot of broken families who struggle to do life well together. 

That’s why we help families create an environment where deeper connection & healing can happen.


(630) 937-3027

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(630) 797-9872 Ext. 1

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Geneva, IL 60134

(630) 797-9872

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Hinsdale, IL 60521

(630) 797-9872

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