- Yes, we support our parents and each other, and our in-laws, but never at the cost of our private wishes and goals. What we do give up, we do so willingly because we want to. We say a big NO to Emotional Blackmail.
hen there are conflicts with elders and siblings, both husband and wife need to know how to handle it. This way we teach our children how to handle conflicts in an effective manner.
- We support each other emotionally and financially but we never take each other for granted. My sister and I understand that our brothers have to care for their families first. My brothers understand that our choices in life are different from that of their wives’.
- We do not manipulate each other. When we have strong differences in opinion, we agree to disagree. When we meet after a period of time, we start afresh instead of harping on what was said at such and such time. Is it easy? No. But it is necessary.
- We do not believe in a perfect family. But we do believe that we have a responsibility to provide a happy family for our children. We accept that our criteria for happiness may have some similarities and differences. So we do not carry tales, compare our children, or belittle each other. When one sibling’s child makes a mistake we support the child no matter how much we dislike the actual behavior.
- We work on our communication skills—we want our children to learn that you have to think before you speak, and say what you mean. We do not complain about each other to the children. We believe that they shouldn't be asked to evaluate the adults in their family—parents, aunts and uncles or grandparents.
- Whatever our frustrations with our spouses, in-laws and siblings, we never take it out on any of the children. It is not their fault that we can’t make ourselves understood to the other adults.
- We know we can’t afford to be naive about new family members. So we teach our children that any marriage is not better than no marriage. None of them will ever have to put up with difficult or mean in-laws for fear of appearing imperfect in society.
- We expect and accept that for each of us, our children come first.
- Lastly, we leave the past behind. Is it easy? No! There are moments when the old doubts resurface...we remind each other that we make the choices in our lives. To relive the past is to forgo that choice. Plus it protects us from physiological problems like BP, Diabetes caused by stress.
Having said that, a well managed joint family where there is respect, understanding and the will to 'live and let live' can be a tremendous support in times of stress. When a child has a mental health disorder, doing it alone puts a lot of strain on the parents. Supportive extended family members go a long way in dealing with the strain and in helping the child regroup and cope.