Our focus this week has been on Obama family values. And their move into the White House, which includes Michelle’s mother, marks a major transition for all of them. No Sandwich Generation family always runs smoothly. And there can be problems that aren’t that easy to fix. As you evaluate the kind of support and strategies you need right now, keep the following tips in mind:
Make sure your expectations are realistic. You may have very clear ideas about how you want your family to be. But realize that every member will have their own way of handling challenges, conflicts and disappointments. Don’t think that what’s a priority for you will be the same for everyone. And remember that the present state of affairs won’t last.
Be willing to compromise. With a situation you can’t agree on in a family relationship that matters a lot, take the time to understand both sides of the issue. Validate everyone’s feelings and try to withhold blame. It’s not necessary to excuse bad behavior, but show support for what they’re going through. If in the past you have gone underground and then exploded later, don’t let these feelings fester. Acknowledge the part that you play in the conflict and deal with it. Negotiating an agreement that both of you can live with is often the best way to move on.
Set long-range goals about what you want to accomplish as well as short-term objectives that will help you reach them. These concrete plans provide the basic foundation and parameters for change in your partner, your children, your parents and yourself. As you successfully move forward, step by step, your self-confidence will grow. Ongoing action and a positive attitude will motivate you to stay on track and ultimately reach your family goals.
Tomorrow we’ll finish up our set of tips. Log on and let us hear about the family issues you’re facing and how you’re managing.