Practise the family-first policy.

AFTER one of my recent talks, I wasapproached by an elderly man who wanted my opinion. His son had just started working in the city centre with a reputable company and lives with his parents for economic reasons.

While the father was initially happy with the arrangement, things started souring as time went by, leading to minor conflicts.

It seems the son comes home late almost on a daily basis. Even on weekends, he is hardly at home. He spends much of his time with friends, either from his work or social circles. A particularly bad incident occurred one weekend. As the father hardly saw his son during the weekdays, he decided to arrange a family lunch so that they could all be together and catch up.

Unfortunately, the son decided to go out with his friends instead. The father was furious and this led to the conflict.

DEALING WITH YOUNG ADULTS

Although managing growing children has its own challenges, very few parents are prepared to deal with young adults who are still living with them.

Parents tend to assume that their needs would remain the same and that they’re okay with staying at home and spending time with the family. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. By this stage, most young adults would be pursuing their dreams and creating their own social circle.

That said, it doesn’t mean that they have the right to abandon the family altogether. Like everything else, life is about finding the right balance between family, work and social life. As parents, we must continue to highlight this even to the young adults.

The best way is to show them good examples ourselves. When I asked the father about this balance, he readily admitted that he himself sometimes prioritised other things above the family, only to regret it later.

FAMILY FIRST, ALWAYS

We’ve probably been guilty of putting others first before our family. It’s all right if it doesn’t happen regularly. But if it does, we may inadvertently be teaching our children the wrong lesson. What will happen is that when they grow older, their friends will become more attractive than the family.

The good news is that we can always prevent or even reverse the trend. At home, we must always practise this principle: Family first.

Use it to decide when two conflicting options arise. If we must make an exception, let’s ensure that we take the time to explain properly to the family. Don’t take them for granted, hoping that they’d understand.

Once we’re comfortable practising the family-first policy, it’d be a lot easier to pass it on to our young adults. Always remind them to balance the family and friends. When in doubt, family must come first.

If done regularly and positively, we can start to see their transformation. It’s not only great for our current relationships, but it will also create a great example for them when the time comes to start their own family.

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces. Reach him at zaid@smartparents.com.my

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