8 Common Family Issues and How to Solve Them

Medically reviewed by Kimberly L Brownridge , LPC, NCC, BCPC
Updated December 13, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Leo Tolstoy observed that “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” However, it seems he was not quite right. Although each family has its own individual hang-ups, there are common issues that many families face. It may feel like our types of family situations are unique, but in most cases, millions of families around the world are dealing with the same problems. While they may seem overwhelming to solve, with enough knowledge and dedication, all the problems in this article and more can be worked through.

1. Distance

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Distance, because of work or other reasons, can be a strain on an otherwise healthy relationship. And 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, there are other things you can do to decrease the distance between you and your family. For example, you can do a nightly video chat, play online games together, or sync up movies to watch together. In the digital age, there are many solutions to make distance easier to manage.

Problems with distance arise not only from having too much distance, but also from not having enough distance. The media perpetuates the myth that if two people love each other, they can happily spend every minute of their time together. While this fantasy might play out well in the first months of dating, any serious relationship needs space. This problem is not limited to time spent with your significant other. Parents, especially stay-at-home parents, can also feel cooped up after too much time with their kids.

The solution? Get out of the house, or carve out some alone time. Try to involve yourself in fun and exciting hobbies and passions that you can do on your own.

2. A Cluttered Schedule

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

One solution is to use a calendar or daily schedule system. This way you can prioritize what matters most. You can also try to make an agreement with neighbors or friends to watch each other’s kids once a week; this is a win-win situation where all involved get a weekly date night.

3. Arguments and Fights

Disagreements are normal. After all, we all have our own opinions. However, when healthy communication falters and discussions increasingly become arguments, a solution must be found.

Whether with your spouse or your children, arguments can seriously raise tensions in the family. Depending on the severity of the disagreement, they can even permanently damage relationships. Therefore, it is critical to handle arguments with care, not allowing heightened emotions to get the better of you. Instead, focus on the problem at hand, and ask yourself: “Why does this person believe what they believe?” If you can find a way to understand the other person, you can create a foundation to build upon.

If the argument has turned into a fight and anyone is feeling overwhelmed, call a time-out and return to the conversation later.

Arguments don’t have to be a bad thing—they are natural after all. And they can be perfectly manageable if everyone tries their hardest to be respectful and come to some sort of consensus.

4. Disagreements On Parenting

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

To handle disputes on parenting, more than in 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 values in mind, not by values held by only one parent.

5. Work-Life Balance

Work is a high priority in the lives of many parents, as it is for most adults. The tension between needing to provide financially for one’s family and wanting to be there for them physically and emotionally can result in an uneven work-life balance.

A few solutions are to leave work at work and focus on your family when you are at home; make sure to set time aside for the things that matter most to you and your family; delegate tasks to others to save you time; and do not forget about “you time.” With a more balanced work-life schedule, you can finally have the time to better focus on your family.

6. Money Problems

A significant stressor in many family’s lives, financial troubles can add significant tension to any household. Money problems can be dealt within various ways, including a change in the way we look at money and material possessions. In some situations, families may benefit from setting a budget and making money management a priority.

A few general tips for better money management are to create a zero-based budget, cut out unnecessary purchases, and to keep at least few months’ expenses in a liquid form of savings. In terms of changing your perspective on money, it is helpful to look at money as a means to get the goods and services you want, not as an end in and of itself.

As the things you accumulate may not provide as much happiness as you think, one way to make some quick cash and free up your space as well is to sell unnecessary belongings your family has accumulated. Financial problems can test relationships, but if you are open to creative problem solving together, you will get through them.

7. Unfaithfulness

Infidelity is, unfortunately, one of the main reasons for divorce. It is a challenging problem to solve within a marriage, let alone a family. When a partner cheats, you may wonder how a marriage can be put back together, or if it is worth it to continue.

Prevention is the best solution to unfaithfulness, meaning that both partners commit to and nurture the relationship sufficiently. Once infidelity has occurred, however, it is generally wise to get professional support in the form of couples counseling. The BetterHelp platform has resources for dealing with unfaithfulness, as well as licensed therapists who can help both partners process their feelings about the situation and make good decisions about how to move forward.

8. Difficult Children

From the toddlers going through their “terrible twos” to the trying nature of teens, raising children can be challenging, and at times you may feel your last nerve has been tried. Just know that while you cannot control your children’s every action, you can control how you teach them to deal with decisions and behaviors.

You can set a positive example with how you choose to react to your own frustrations. With younger children, who may display volatile emotional states and tantrums, a good balance of patience and firmness are key. For more detailed suggestions, there are many resources in our advice column for dealing with small children.

When it comes to older kids, acting out may mean they just want to be heard. So, rather than moving straight to punishment, try to listen to what your adolescent has to say. This can be difficult, especially when you know your child is not using their best judgment. But the best way for a child to learn is through thinking through important decisions with a mature adult. And you never know: you just might learn something from them as well.

Online Marriage and Family Counseling

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Research studies have explored how internet counseling offers unique advantages for couples and families. Not only does online therapy offer the general benefits of lower cost, greater privacy, and a lower risk of unhealthy dependence on the therapist, but it also provides greater opportunities for multiple family members to be treated.

For one thing, it is more convenient for family members to share sessions at home than to attend in-person sessions together. In addition, online therapy offers greater opportunities for therapists to work with family members who are geographically distant from one another, including couples who are separated or divorced. Finally, when one or more family members are anxious about attending in-person therapy, internet sessions provide a helpful solution.

The Benefits of Online Therapy

As discussed above, counseling with a licensed therapist is an excellent opportunity for couples and families to work together. But sometimes, family members can feel anxious about attending in-person sessions. This is where online therapy comes in. You can sign up for BetterHelp’s platform from the comfort and privacy of your own home. There’s no need to sit in traffic or take time out of your busy workday to drive to your appointment; you can speak with your licensed therapist from wherever you have an internet connection.BetterHelp’s licensed therapists have helped couples, families, and individuals experiencing relationship issues. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp therapists from people experiencing similar problems.

Counselor Reviews

“Nicole is great! I’ve been seeing her for both couples counseling and individual therapy. She is kind and sympathetic while still being straightforward and practical. She always helps me find ways to overcome obstacles or look at things from another perspective. Also, she has a ton of helpful resources that she has shared through the BetterHelp app. It is very convenient and just what I needed to get through a difficult year!”

“Danielle is amazing! She’s helping me grapple with incredibly difficult challenges in one of my most important relationships. She listens well, synthesizes my scattered thoughts & feelings, and offers helpful tools, activities & resources to work on outside of our sessions. Danielle provides honest feedback and creates a safe space. I can feel that she genuinely cares.”


No one ever said raising a family would be easy! But at the end of the day, there is sweetness in the struggle. Through all of life’s difficulty, there is the opportunity to grow stronger and more capable, and for families, there is the possibility of growing closer by working through challenges together. However, you do not need to face every challenge on your own. Reach out to BetterHelp and get the help you need to move forward as a family.

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