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You have your dad, mom, and siblings. The dynamics may vary from one group to another, but regardless, they’re your family.
Then you have your grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, godparents, in-laws, and step-relatives. They’re your extended family.
Having an extended family can sometimes be a blessing or a curse, mainly depending on the situation. In most cases, the bigger the extended family is, the better. But the bigger it is, the more conflict arises.
It becomes challenging to fix family disagreements. If the situation involves your child, it’s imperative that the central decisions and responsibilities come from you and your partner. But what if you’re divorced, and new partners and stepchildren are in the mix? Then, communication becomes more paramount.
Conflicts that involve your extended family needs to be navigated with care. You can’t just bulldoze everyone with your decision because there are also other people involved. But you also can’t just stay quiet and let them rule for the sake of peace and unity, especially when it’s your core family who’s at the center of things.
So, what can you really do?
Establish common ground.
Even if it seems impossible, find a way to co-exist. This is particularly the case for step-parents, stepchildren, and step-siblings.
With your blood relatives, it’s often easy to find a common ground since you’ve been in each other’s lives practically since birth. So even when there’s conflict, and it’s bad, you can dig deep and remind yourself why you love the person and why s/he’s important in your life.
This gets tricky with the “steps,” because you’re basically opening yourself up to people you really don’t know. However, you have to consciously find some common ground to make things less awkward.
You can start with the small things like a favorite TV show, a sport you both love, or a band you both follow. Make an effort to be in a situation where you can hang out and really enjoy the time together.
This creates the start of a relationship. It also helps lessen the chances of disagreements and conflicts.
Handle family issues with humor.
At times, you just have to laugh about the situation, especially when you can’t really do anything about.
So, your mom just got married for the fourth time. Or your dad now has a live-in partner who’s practically your age. Or your brother has three 5-year old kids, but they’re not triplets, and they don’t have the same mothers. Or your relationship with your sister-in-law is dysfunctional, it makes you want to skip family visits.
These are all crazy situations, but very real for other people (or even you at the moment!). But, it’s your life. And there are things you can change – like the relationship you have with your in-laws. But there are also things you can’t control – like the love life of your family members. So, just laugh at the situation, handle things as they come and hope for the best for everyone.
Take the high road.
There’s always someone in the family that makes you just want to pack your bags and leave to avoid the drama. If you have conflict with your family’s drama queen or king, take a step back and if possible, stay on the high road.
Regardless if the conflict is petty or severe, try to keep a cool head. Bickering over a disagreement won’t help a single bit. It will just make the situation worse. And especially avoid hurling insults and low blows. Even if there’s truth in what you say, they will come back and haunt you in the end.
Face the situation like an adult that you are.
If you’re the parent, let your kids react the natural way. Again, this is mainly directed to the new addition to your family – your new partner or your ex’s new partner.
Whether you’re a kid or a grown adult, it’s still hard to swallow the reality that your parents now have new spouses. But refusing to acknowledge it or the existence of your step parents won’t be of any help. In fact, it usually strains an already shaky relationship.
While it’s important to prioritize your feelings, your life involves other people’s emotions, too. It always comes to choices and reactions. It’s not a bad thing to be loyal to your parent – in fact, it’s a natural reaction. But avoid treating your step parents like they don’t matter at all.
They deserve a chance for you to get to know them better, the same way that you are worthy of a chance from them.
Know and respect the rules.
Joining and new family and having in-laws require a huge adjustment on your part. The same thing with dealing with divorce. Both situations leave behind a wake of many outcomes. For the in-laws, it’s marking your identity as part of the family without stepping on any toes.
For the divorce, it’s settlements, child support, visitation rights, child custody, and more. It’s important to learn the legal and moral rules in both circumstances to avoid entangling yourself into a bitter mess.
Family is more than blood. Share the love with your family with these beautiful quotes!
35 Inspiring Family Quotes
“Sometimes our hearts get tangled, and our souls a little off kilter. Friends and family can set us right, and help guide us back to the light.” – Sera Christann
“At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable.” – Mark V. Olsen
“Family life is a bit like a runny peach pie – not perfect but who’s complaining?” – Robert Brault
“The family is a haven in a heartless world.” – Christopher Lasch
“Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements.” – Elizabeth II
“You inherited a piece of everyone in your family. Insult them, insult yourself.” – Marcelina Hardy
“The greatest legacy one can pass on is not material things accumulated in one’s life, but a legacy of character and faith.” – Billy Graham
“Family makes you who you are and aren’t.” – Marcelina Hardy
“The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you.” – Kendall Hailey
“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” – Confucius
“Having a place to go – is a home. Having someone to love – is a family. Having both – is a blessing.” – Donna Hedges
“The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.” – Gilbert Keith Chesterton
“I can’t help detesting my relations. I suppose it comes from the fact that none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.” – Oscar Wilde
“He that raises a large family stands a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Just as a house needs a foundation in order to stand firm, so does a person.” – Jacquie McTaggart
“A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living.” – Charles Swindon
“The secret of a happy home is that members of the family learn to give and receive love” – Billy Graham
“You leave home to seek your fortune and, when you get it, you go home and share it with your family” – Anita Baker
“To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.” – Pope John Paul II
“To each other, we were as normal and nice as the smell of bread. We were just a family. In a family even exaggerations make perfect sense.” – John Irving
“No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?” – Lee Iacocca
“A man should never neglect his family for business.” – Walt Disney
“We didn’t have many possessions, but we never went hungry, were cold, or lacked love.” – Yanni
“My family provided me with the proper information and inspiration for me to overcome the challenge of blindness.” – David DeNotaris
“I do think that families are the most beautiful things in all the world!” – Louisa May Alcott
“Think of your family today and every day thereafter, don’t let the busy world of today keep you from showing how much you love and appreciate your family.” – Josiah
“We must take care of our families wherever we find them.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
“When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family.” – Jim Butcher
“I sustain myself with the love of family.” – Maya Angelou
“It didn’t matter how big our house was; it mattered that there was love in it.” – Peter Buffett
“Happiness is only real when shared.” – Jon Krakauer
“One day you will do things for me that you hate. That is what it means to be family.” – Jonathan Safran Foer
“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.” – George Bernard Shaw
“Feelings of worth flourish in an atmosphere where differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, and communication is open; an atmosphere found in a nurturing family.” – Virginia Satir
“When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.” – Joyce Brothers