What do you do when you want to help but you know that tempers will flare? What do you do when you love your family member a lot but you know that your personalities and working styles just don’t mix? What do you do when you realize that you simply lack the patience to ensure that things will go smoothly during your parent’s move?
What about your siblings? Your communication style might be one of quiet and respectful reflection but your brother (or sister), however well intended, may have a really short fuse.
First, let me say that you are definitely not alone! Everyone handles things differently and stress often does not bring out the best out in individuals or in families. Witnessing declining health and abilities in yourself or your loved one is frightening for everyone involved.
If feelings of autonomy are threatened, you can count on it that family members will know exactly what buttons to push! Polite boundaries become ever moving targets and the need to control what can seem uncontrollable can make for some really challenging and lasting family dynamics.
Your parents are in a particularly tough situation. They usually see themselves as “older and wiser” than their adult children but may be finding themselves becoming increasingly dependent… They don’t want to play referee at this stage and they are often terrified of what their own future holds. The familiar feels safer than the unknown, even when it’s becoming increasingly clear that the familiar isn’t safe at all.
Adult children, typically in their 50s and 60’s and often with kids of their own, generally don’t have the time to devote to the softer, empathic demands of the organizational tasks at hand. Devoting a couple of Saturdays is one thing but typically no one has time these days to deal with the demands of an unexpected health care emergency or to face the daunting challenges of a major move from the family home. “Sandwich generation” boomers are being stretched really, really thin and Mom or Dad’s seeming reluctance to make even the smallest decisions, can be really, really frustrating.
What I have seen in my work is that it is often the most caring families that involve professionals when a move management need emerges. Involving an independent and skilled outsider can bring objectivity to the process that a family member simply cannot. Please believe me when I share that the levels of communication in the family are generally raised!
With my background in mental health support, crisis intervention and dispute resolution, I can bring a specialized skill set to your project. Preventing disputes is so much preferable to trying to resolve them later!
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