8 Common Family Issues and How to Solve Them

By: Mary Elizabeth Dean

Updated September 18, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault

Leo Tolstoy said it best when he said that "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Although each family unit has its own individual hang-ups, there are common family issues that plague many of us. It may feel like our personal situations are unique, but in most cases, these 'problems' are things that millions of families around the world are dealing with as well.

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While they may seem almost impossible to take on at first, all the problems in our article and more can be worked through with enough dedication and information.

Distance Situations

Distance, whether because of work or other reasons, can be a strain on an otherwise healthy relationship. If you have kids, it can be challenging to be away from them for an extended period of time, especially if you have to travel often.

If you cannot change the frequency or length of your time away, then there are tons of things you can do to shorten the distance between you and your family. You can make sure to do a nightly facetime, play online games together, or sync up movies and watch them together. In the digital age, there are many solutions to the formidable presence of temporary distance.

Problems with distance don't only arise from long-distance situations, but also not having enough distance. There is a myth perpetuated by the media that if two people love each other, there is no problem with them spending all their time together. In fact, they should want to spend every minute with their significant other.

While this limited separation fantasy might play out in the first months of dating, any serious relationship, and especially any marriage, needs space. This problem is not limited to your significant other. You can undoubtedly feel cooped up with your kids for too long as a parent, especially as a stay-at-home parent.

The solution? Get out of the house! More specifically, try to involve yourself in fun and exciting hobbies and passions to get your mind on subjects that you are interested in.

A Cluttered Schedule

As a parent, it may seem as if you have no time. Your schedule may be cluttered with your children's events, work, and chores leaving little time for the things you want to do.

The most natural solution is to utilize an effective calendar and daily schedule system. This way you can prioritize your family's time around the stuff that really matters. You could also work up a deal with neighbors or friends to watch each other's kids once a week to get a date night with your partner more often.

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Arguments And Disagreements

Disagreements are normal. After all, we all have our own opinions. However, when healthy communication falters and discussions move into an argument, a solution must be found.

Whether with your spouse or your children, arguments can seriously raise tensions in the family, they can even permanently damage relationships depending on the severity of the disagreement. Therefore, it is so critical to handle arguments in your family with care and to try to get rid of all unnecessary emotion when dealing with disagreements. Instead, focus on the problem at hand and ask: "Why do they believe [argument]?" Often, you can find commonalities within your disagreements, and this can set up a foundation from which you can build off.

If the argument has turned into a fight, and people are turning to insults, call a break and come back to it later. Arguments don't have to be that bad of a thing - they are natural after all. They can be manageable if everyone involved tries their hardest to be respectful and tries to come to some sort of consensus.

Disagreements On Parenting

If you have been a parent for more than one day, you will most likely have disagreed with your partner on something when it comes to parenting. Disagreements on parenting styles are bound to happen, and they are an unavoidable part of a family. But like any argument, disagreements on parenting can be aided by a calm and reasonable approach in the argument.

To handle disputes on parenting specifically, understand that, more than most other areas of disagreement, it is vital that you and your partner learn to compromise. Your child should be raised with both of your opinions on what is the right course of action in mind, not by what just one of you thinks.

Work-Life Balance

In the wake of rising work hours and mostly stagnant wages work can sometimes be placed as a priority in the lives of many parents. The strife to provide mixes with a need for consumption and the concoction of this results in an uneven work-life balance.

It's true, many Americans get so little meaning from their jobs yet continue to prioritize them over the family. It's a complicated topic that has many possible solutions. A few solutions are to leave work at work and appreciate your time home with family, set time aside for things that matter, delegate tasks to others to save you time, and do not forget about 'you time.' With a balanced work-life schedule, you can finally have the time to better focus on your family.

Money Problems

A significant stressor in many family's lives, financial troubles can add heaps of pressure and tension to the parents of a household. Money problems can be fixed through a few different methods: proper budgeting and money management, and secondly, a change in the way we look at money and our things.

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There are thousands of resources out there to achieve the former solution, but a few general tips we can offer are to create a zero-based budget, cut out unnecessary purchases, and to keep at least few months in a liquid form of savings. For the latter suggestion, look at money to get the things you want, not as an end in itself.

All of the stuff you accumulate may not give you as much happiness as you might think, an effortless way of cutting down on debts and freeing up your time is to sell all the unnecessary stuff you accumulate and feel you want. It's also an easy way to make some quick cash! Money problems and other outside stressors similar to it can test relationships significantly, but if you build up your relationship well enough, you will get through it.


Infidelity is, unfortunately, one of the main reasons for a divorce and is a challenging problem to solve within the relationship, let alone family. There are questions of how a marriage can be put back together after cheating, or if it is not strong enough to keep going.

Ideally, we fix the problem by avoiding it in the first place with good relationship habits to squash the underlying issues which lead to unfaithfulness. But if it's too late for that, it is hard to recommend a course of action for everyone, since each couple's situation is slightly different. But you'll want first to avoid any rash action - do not rush to violent confrontation above all.

You'll want to confront your partner sooner rather than later and make sure they explain their actions and decisions. While this won't justify their actions, it will allow you to see things from their point of view, which can help you to move forward. Just remember, it is not your fault. After, you may need some space for a while, and that's okay. You must think through everything and where you want to take your relationship.

Afterward, you need to start thinking about how to move forward in the relationship. There are many resources online and on our site here at BetterHelp for dealing with unfaithfulness and seek professional help to help you to handle the situation and your feelings around it.

Difficult Children

Probably the most common of the list, difficult children can make otherwise sane parents go insane. From the emotional and problematic challenges of toddlers to the trying nature of teenagers, it can be a frustrating time. Just know that you cannot control the actions of your children, but you can control how you raise them to deal with their decisions and actions.

Furthermore, you can set a positive example of how you choose to react. For older kids, they sometimes just want to be heard. So don't throw around the parental veto power all the time. Use it sparingly and when necessary. Instead, try to hear out what your children have to say. It can be hard sometimes, especially when you know they are wrong, but not only is it beneficial for them to get their point across, but they can also give you an insight into how they view the situation.

For younger children who are difficult through their volatile emotional states and tantrums, patience and firmness are needed to teach them how to behave. There are many resources in our advice column for dealing with small children if you want more detailed action-plans.


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No one said raising a family would be easy, it's going to be tough, but at the end of the day, you'll find sweetness in the struggle. Through all of life's difficulty, there is the opportunity to grow stronger and more capable, and for many situations of difficulty, to grow closer together as a family. But you will not always be able to handle it on your own, you might need a professional's help with managing the assortment of problems that come up. Reach out to us here at BetterHelp and get the help you need to move forward as a family.

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