Advice-Family Relationship Tips

1 year ago

A wise elderly man once gave me important advice: family relationships between siblings begin with the parents.

Let me explain. I grew up in New England with four siblings. Today this family of five, are all married, have children and even grandchildren and are spread over three continents; two stayed in North America, I and one sister live in the Middle East, and my baby sister lives in South Africa. Despite our geographical distances we all keep in touch. We all know what is doing with each other’s children and grandchildren (and there are a lot of them!) and we frequently speak to each other on the phone. We also attend our nieces and nephews weddings when it is possible. (International flights are not cheap!)

I used to wonder how did we become so close ? We weren’t particularly nice to each other when we were growing up; we were just average kids who fight and bicker. And more than this, my youngest sister is twelve years younger than my older brother and they didn’t really even grow up with each other, and they are also very close! How did this closeness happen?

I discovered the answer in January 2001 right after my father passed away. We were sitting in my mother’s house reminiscing old times and someone asked if anyone ever saw Daddy and Mommy fighting or arguing with each other. None of us remembered any time that they fought and we only remembered one or two times that they even had different opinions on things that went on in the house. A few hours later an old friend of mine who lived in my house for a few years while in high school (his parents moved abroad) came by to offer his condolences. We asked him the same question and he laughed and answered, “I don’t remember any time, but I’m sure they did. How can a married couple not argue with each other?!”

This is the reason that me and my siblings are so close despite our geographical distance and age differences. My parents were such role models for closeness that, almost like osmosis, we learnt to became close.

Here are a few tips on how to get the message of family closeness to your children:

1. Never discuss “heated” family issues in front of children. Discuss the issues when they are not around and present only your joint conclusion to them.

2. Never make fun of your spouse, even jokingly, when the children are around

3. Show how you are concerned for your spouse in front of the children.

Imagine for a minute how never arguing or disagreeing with your spouse in front of the children will affect your children and empower them to be close with one and other, their spouses, and their children for years and years to come.


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