Disclaimer: I am writing about family, but just because I’m writing it doesn’t mean that the issues I bring up are going on in mine. I am speaking broadly, to encompass many families that I know, friends families, neighbors families, and co-workers families that I know experience the things I am planning on writing about. I also used to work in a daycare, and met so many different struggling families. So, for my personal family reading this? Please don’t assume and wonder if I’m writing about you.
We are all given family, and we don’t have a choice about it. We can choose our friends, but we cannot choose our family. No matter how much we are all supposed to love and support one another, there are those in our family who are difficult. There are those who we will just not click with. There are those we wish we never had to see again. There are those who hurt us. There are those that behave reprehensibly. And who do I mean? I’m talking about our family members. Our mother. Our father. Our sister. Our brother. Our son. Our daughter. Our Aunt. Our Uncle. Our In-laws. Our Grandparents. We have a wide circle of family, and it can impact us positively or negatively.
WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT
Since we all have different personalities, there is no way that we are all going to get along. We can pseudo get along, and sometimes we have to be nice to keep the peace, but in families, this is important. If someone does something that really hurts you or offends you, it’s best to talk with them in private, not air your grievances publicly, especially on twitter or facebook. Then it becomes shaming, which is never a good thing, and does terrible things for relationships.
You might have heard the saying that “hurting people hurt others.” It’s true. If you are hurting, that is what is in your heart. It’s full of pain, which leaves no room for love or kindness. And what happens when people hurt? They hurt others with their words, and actions. It comes out. It may come out as sarcasm, it may come out as jealousy, or it may come out as direct insults.
No matter what, no matter how you feel, it is my opinion that you NEVER trash talk family. EVER!
YOU CANNOT CHOOSE YOUR FAMILY
You may not have chosen your family, but no matter what, they are part of you, your own flesh and blood. Saying negative things about them is terrible. We’ve all heard and seen the quote, “if you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. This should apply to your family as well.
You should never speak negatively about your husband. Even if he behaves like a jerk, or forgets to put the toilet seat down, or gets the wrong groceries, or puts dishes in the dishwasher wrong, you shouldn’t ever call him names, or put him down. And never, EVER ridicule your spouse in front of your children. That is not showing him respect.
If your kids are lazy, have clothes all over the floor, you don’t ridicule them and put them down. That is not showing your children respect.
SHOW RESPECT TO ALL FAMILY MEMBERS
If your sisters/brothers do things differently than you in their family, that doesn’t make them wrong, it just makes them different from YOU! It doesn’t give you the right to say disparaging things about them to others.
Every single person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Just because you think you are better than someone does not give you the right to judge what someone else does. Stop being smug, stop being insulting, stop being mean, and examine your heart and see what needs to change.
Once children become adults, if they haven’t been treated correctly, they will continue the abusive patterns to their own families. Let’s start making a change now. The following poem was written in the 60’s and it’s still applicable today, even more so:
Children Learn What They Live
by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANYONE EXCEPT YOURSELF
You can’t change anyone but yourself. Stop pointing fingers and saying, “I wouldn’t be like this if my husband didn’t ……….or I wouldn’t behave like that if my wife would just ……..”
Stop finger pointing and blaming, and change your own behavior. Be the best version of you. Be someone who you would want to be with. Be someone who shows love. Be someone who shows kindness. Be someone who has self-control.
STOP POINTING FINGERS
I realize we can’t all be perfect all the time, but we can strive to change the dark areas of our life that aren’t so nice. Time to clean out the closet of disrespect, stop dissing our kids, our husbands, our families, our in-laws. Time to focus on what we can say that’s positive instead. Because truly, there is always something positive we can say if we just look hard enough.
Here are my “rules” for my family and marriage that I have been working on and implementing:
- Always say I love you daily to all family members.
- Never yell unless the house is on fire.
- Always be kind, even if I wake up feeling grumpy.
- Ask politely for help.
- Watch my tone – is it gracious? Polite? Or rude and condescending?
- Talk privately with my hubby if I’m bothered by something or upset.
- Instead of being annoyed when I find the toilet lid up, just put it down.
- Thank my family daily for the things they do!
- Be kind always. If it isn’t nice, don’t say it, even though you really want to.