Maintaining healthy relationships with extended family members—such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and in-laws—can be tough. According to an article published by YouGov, 46% of Americans don’t have any extended family members living in the same city or town as them. Unfortunately, for many people, this distance can make it difficult to nurture positive family relationships.
If you’re looking to create healthy relationships with extended family members, you may want to consider implementing one or more of the following tips:
- Schedule times to catch up. When you don’t get to see your family members every day or even every week, it can be easy to lose touch, which can make you feel less like family and more like acquaintances. Plan regular visits, videochats, and telephone calls, and make an effort to remain free of distractions during those times.
- Establish boundaries. It may seem counterintuitive, but setting boundaries can help families feel closer in the long run. For example, if you don’t feel comfortable having extended family members stay at your home for more than a few days, communicating that before their next visit can help prevent resentment from forming.
- Avoid taking sides. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try to keep the peace, it’s inevitable that family disputes will pop up from time to time. While you should certainly stand up for what you believe is right, in many cases, exercising empathy and remaining neutral can help prevent hurt feelings. You should also avoid talking about family members behind their back.
Take the First Step Toward Positive Family Relationships
If you’re interested in building healthy relationships with extended family members, one of the best things you can do is speak to a therapist. Contact us today and request an appointment at a date and time that’s convenient for you.