Do You Have a Normal Family Relationship? Let’s Find Out!
There are many reasons why you may be trying to identify whether the kind of relationship you share with members of your family is normal. For example, your contact with them in recent months may have significantly diminished, leading you to question if the bond you once shared is still there, or they may have started to become increasingly involved with your life which may have blurred a few boundaries creating a disturbance with your privacy and personal space.
Whatever the case, it remains a question mark in the minds of many people: whether are they are doing enough or if seeking a little distance from their family members is the best way to ensure healthy and happy family relationships.
Are You Estranged from Your Family?
Everyone has a different family dynamic. For some families, if they do not talk every day on the phone (if living apart at a significant distance) or see each other’s faces, they feel disturbed and aim to rectify the situation. For others, not talking for months on end with children or parents becomes normal once the children move out of homes and kick-start their own lives.
Hence, whether or not you have become estranged from your family is an assessment that you need to make according to your family’s dynamics. You can start off by developing criteria of what you consider to be important aspects of a relationship, such as time invested, the quality of the relationship (including the level of trust, compassion, and attention), and any other measurement metric which pertains to your context.
Of course, it is a difficult assessment to make, as the Student Loans Company, which has operations in the UK, found out the hard way. The company conducted an investigation to identify any fraud on part of students who took out loans with the company to fund their education stating estrangement from parents as a reason for lack of financial support.
To confirm whether such an estrangement existed, the SLC decided to analyse the interaction of 150 students, selected at random, with their parents on social media websites to identify if any contact had taken place between them. By assessing the frequency and nature of communication between students and their parents, the SLC drew conclusions about the kind of relationship they shared, consequently withdrawing or freezing the funding which had been provided to them.
Since the conclusions drawn were based upon subjective analysis, the actions taken by the SLC did not stand, and ultimately the company was forced to apologize to the students.
The processes of establishing the quality of family relationships between students and their families by the SLC came under review, and rightfully as well since it is very difficult to make that assessment. For example, does a Facebook wall post from a parent to a child indicate they share a healthy relationship?
It Has Become Easier to Stay in Touch
Over the years, especially after the advent of instant communication platforms like Skype and Facebook, it has become much easier for family members to stay connected even when they are miles apart. While in the past distance made it very difficult to get in touch with your loved ones, now grandparents are able to see their grandchildren whenever they want through a video call.
However, that does not mean relationships have automatically improved. For example, if at one end parents now rely on these communication mediums to connect with their children, on the other end the children can very easily block all such attempts by simply not responding to such attempts.
Since an expectation has come into existence that communication is possible all the time, even physical distance has disallowed for creation of personal space as you are always within reach. In this case, persistently rejecting communication requests may likely result in damaging the quality of the relationship, a situation that did not occur when these instant messaging platforms did not exist.
What You Can Do
After you’ve made the assessment about what works best to maintain a healthy relationship between yourself and your family members, it is now time to develop certain parameters. Prioritize yourself and adjust your time to allow for adequate communication without compromising on your personal time or space.
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