21st Century 3G Families

A friend of mine recently joined the face book bandwagon and asked me how this thing works. I said to ask her son to configure it for her with privacy settings. That sets off a whole conversation on the young and budding son …

The son, apparently will come home really late and probably not want to configure this for mom nor spend time explaining how this thing work.

I am in the midst of preparing for 2 presentation this weekend. One on building relationship between parents and children. And the other on how to live in a 3G family – in an Asian setting.

3G family refers to three generations living together under one roof. 
What picture comes up as I mention that?
How so you feel?
A little excited maybe?

One can imagine the challenges of maintaining peace and sanity in such a tension packed enviroement. There are relationships issues on all sides; between the children and parents, the in-laws staying together on long term, the grandchildren and the grand-parents. And depending on your position in the family, this can be challenging to different degrees.

Getting into each other’s way will be a big issue. One needs space, personal space, a rather foreign concept to Asian culture where everything is communal. Mental, spiritual and physical space is needful.  And think of the combination of relationship issues here: parent and child, husband and wife, in laws, grand parents – that can be a bundle of joy or headache!

How do you maintain space?

You want to set a boundary. You want to let others know what is ok and within limits and what is not. Others will not know without you articulating it. Although we assume that others "should know better" and honestly we are just afraid to voice it out at times.  But what is the cost of not doing that?  You end up feeling invalidated, weakened when boundaries are crossed over.

You need to define and hold the space for yourself. You will let others know if and when they crossed the line.  Although you will get into each other’s way physically often enough, the emotional pressure is the hardest to manage.
Find your voice, no matter how small.

Do you sometimes feel guilty for standing your ground and holding your space? Some characters are just stronger and all are at differnt stages of growth.  Be a support to others and you want to protect and take care of yourself.  

You want to respect others’ boundaries too. When they say no, you do not insist, or proceed.  You embrace diversity in beliefs, in ways of handling daily issues, or differences in character and mentality. That I think is the basis of a strong family bond.  Your give preference to others.

Love is too loosely used a word, I like to see it from the angle of respect for each other.  Putting the other before you, in thoughts and words and deeds.  I have heard so many conversations where one party dominated the entire course without wanting to listen.  It is so draining and sets up a downward spiral.

What would be the picture if we each learn to take a step back and listen, instead of being too eager to advise and teach?

So it is great to cherish your family while you have them.   It is also good to be able to stay together if you want to experience a 21st century 3G family. However, do be mindful to respect others and in setting up and observing boudaries, yours and others.  You want to set yourself up for success and not stress, protect and take care of your family  

I wonder how you manage these family tensions.  Would that be something you like to see more of here?

So as I sign off and get back to work on my presentation for this weekend remember that you need to respect yourself before you can respect others. So set your boundaries and then cherish the time you get to live together.  Focusing on the positives and good things will also help, that always reliefs stress.

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