Ask Kari: I am losing my patience with my family during COVID! What can I do?

Dear Kari,

Help! I am going crazy with everyone being home all the time. COVID-19 is making me lose my patience with everyone in my home. It seems like once I clean up an area of the house, someone walks in right behind me and messes things up again. I have asked for help, but no one steps up and does anything but me. What should I do?

– Going Crazy

Dear Going Crazy,

I have great empathy for you and all the other families struggling with working from home, doing online school, and trying not to lose their tempers with each other. I suggest you plan a family meeting and invite everyone to attend. Attendance must be mandatory to make sure everyone is on the same page and hears the expectations for everyone in the household at the same time. Prior to the meeting, make a list of all the items that need to be done daily/weekly within your home. At the meeting, share the list of responsibilities with everyone and ask for volunteers for each item on the list. Remind everyone they must contribute to the household for everyone’s well-being, including yours. If family members are slow to volunteer, assign responsibilities to each person yourself. Make a copy of the completed chore list and post it in the kitchen area of your home, as well as in the bedrooms. Give the new system two weeks so everyone can adjust, then follow up with another family meeting to check in. Overall, please allow six months for your family to master the change you are bringing into your home. Remember, do not jump in and cover someone else’s responsibilities or you will end up right back at the starting point of your original struggle. Complaints will be part of the process, so practice gentle ears towards your loved ones and keep your eyes on the end goal of success with your new system.

– Kari

As published in the October 2020 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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