Rafed English

Don't Pressure Your Family Just Because You Can

One of the things that contributes to family problems is that we sometimes treat our families in ways we wouldn't dream of treating anyone else. They get irritated by this, and rightly so. If your friends ask you to take your shoes off before you come into the house, you do it. If a family member asks you to do this, we're much more likely to reply, "You shouldn't be so precious about your house," or "It's fine, my shoes are clean." This is entirely unfair, and your mother or brother or whoever it is will be rightly irritated. None of their friends make a fuss, so it's not fair that you do it just because you can.

That's quite a small thing, but families pressure each other over big things, too. Parents put pressure on their adult children regarding child-rearing: "You shouldn't let them watch so much TV," or "That child needs a bit more discipline," or "You should hurry up and start a family." I hope you wouldn't dream of saying such things to your friends' children, so why should you say them to your own? It's even tougher on your own children, who don't want to disappoint you, but have their own ideas about how to run their lives --- and so they should.

Siblings put pressure on each other, too. In fact they can be the worst, as even grown up brothers and sisters vie for the attention of their parents. Mothers and fathers take note -- you have to make sure you are as fair and even with grown-up children as you were when they were little.

The pressure game is also played by aunts and uncles, in-laws, and grandparents. Whoever does it, it's not okay. It's unreasonable and unfair and it puts your family under emotional strain. They don't want to damage their relationship with you, but they're not actually happy to do what you're asking, and you know it.

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