Family interactions

November 11, 2021

In the USA there are different levels of life and society. You have the elite wealthy and all the levels between this level and the poor. Outside the fact that of every one of these levels consist of people there is another commonality. No matter what level of society you live in, everyone has a form of family. Not every family is made of large numbers or even blood kin. Many people have issues when dealing with family members. You can replace everything material from cars to houses. It’s harder to replace a family member. Thanksgiving is around the corner. Wonderful people, it’s time to let go of some of the constraints that hinder peaceful family interactions.

The greatest misconception a person can have is to think they have to always be on the same page as their family. I know what you are thinking, “What is dude talking about? How can you have peaceful interactions with relatives if we don’t see things in similar fashion?” Easy. Understand the fact that people in your family have differing ideas and views from yours. Do you have to agree with that uncle who swears that pork is the only meat that you should eat? No. When faced with differing opinions from family members, maintain a clear mind and always be courteous.

There are so-called societal norms established for how family members interact. A good child visits or calls parents regularly. A great sibling always backs up their siblings, etc. In order to interact peacefully with family, a person has to ignore these so-called societal norms. I’m not saying to go totally out in left field and just treat family like strangers. I am saying do not let society dictate how you interact with your family. You can love someone and only talk to then three or four times a year. You can have someone’s back and disagree with their actions. Many people feel betrayed when a family member doesn’t respond to their problem in the way they want them to. This is a gross mistake because the imagined wronged person assumes that the family member sees the situation the way they do. No one sees reality in the exact same way as you. This holds true for family and friends. Understanding of this fact goes a long way in creating positive interactions with relatives.

Family members have their own lives and trials. Keep this in mind when you want to drop your issues in their laps. Always remember that people have problems and sometimes they simply do not have the mental space to listen or hash out yours. This does not mean that Mama doesn’t love you because she won’t hear you complain about the University of Miami losing football games. What this means is that family members have lives also and can’t stop living theirs to restructure yours. Honestly, do you truly want to burden a parent or sibling with your issues? Especially, if the issue is something they warned you about in some form when you were growing up? I am not saying to not bounce ideas off of family members. I am saying suck it up if you mention your issue and the response is not what you expected from family. You are still loved and one of the clan.

Show care for relatives on more than Thanksgiving or Christmas. Give a call or text to relatives on their birthday or simply out of the blue. No one wants to hear from someone who only calls when they have a problem. Call family members when things are going great and share that news. If you share problems why not share the good things that take place in life? Your good news may be the thing needed to brighten a person’s day.

So give a call to that pork loving uncle, or better yet, send him a ham. As they say, “Family first!”

Frank James IV © 2021

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not of the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper or NCON Communication, its staff or management. “Being Frank” is a bi-weekly column exclusive to the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper.

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