What is it that makes some people dread family gatherings and holiday dinners? Why do the people we love the most drive us up the wall? Jean talks to Jane Isay, author of Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents
, about the best ways to handle even the stickiest family situations. Here are Jane's tips for getting through your next family feud with grace:
- All you need is love, Jane says. If both generations know that their relationship is deeply rooted in love, she says obstacles become easier to overcome.
- Little acts of love and consideration are incredibly effective, Jane says. Respect each other—that includes respecting each other's time, space and decisions.
- Listen to each other. Jane says most families talk, but very few listen. Everyone should have the opportunity to have his or her feelings heard.
- When it comes to money, Jane says to tread carefully. If, as a parent, you decide to offer one child a small amount of financial assistance, make the other children aware of the fact that you're doing so. Then, make it clear that you'd be happy to help them as well.
- If you find it hard to keep in touch because of busy or conflicting schedules, get creative. E-mail is fine, Jane says.
- "Guilt separates people," Jane says, but a true apology and change of behavior can do more to heal rifts than anything else. Own up to your mistakes, she says.