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Family Influences

Nobody gets into life without a family. At a minimum, one mom and one dad are requisite. If you got folks who loved and supported you, that's your lot in life. If you got folks who did not love and...

Nobody gets into life without a family. At a minimum, one mom and one dad are requisite. If you got folks who loved and supported you, that's your lot in life. If you got folks who did not love and support you, that's your lot in life. God is not unloving, so you wouldn't ever be asked to handle something you could not handle. If your family is a challenge for you, it's because you can handle it.

Let's talk family now. I have a concept of what family should be: these are the folks who know me, love me, accept me, are always supportive, applaud my successes, support me when I falter, adore my children, never criticize, look for ways to help me. Is that what your concept is? Now I wrote that sentence tongue in cheek because that is not what some families do. Many families are critical. Some are downright destructive.

What is important is how you handle your own ideas about what you want your family to be. Our initial relationship with our family is one of dependency. We are little kids and we are dependent on our parents for emotional, physical, spiritual and financial support. We need that. Unlike animals in the wild, we humans aren't born as self-sufficient. We are not made to stand, walk, and nurse within hours of being born. We have families who help us to unfold the skills and strengths to eventually take care of ourselves.

Because of this early state of dependency, when we eventually strike out to assert our independency, our families take offense. They think we are not considerate or grateful for all they've done. Our family is convinced they are entitled to a voice about how we live their lives and they are generally most vocal in expressing their ballot.

It's the height of wisdom and one of life's little tests to be firm about our selves with the members of our family. Each of us has a right to become who we think we should become, and no one has the right to interfere with that process. So they never do, right? Ha! You know they are in there meddling with that process frequently.

What to do? It's an opportunity for you to exercise the strong voice of your own vote. It's your life experience. You've got the only vote that matters. When it comes to your kids, only you and their other parent have a right to a vote. If you've got a family who is highly skilled in sharing their opinion with you, you now have the opportunity to find your own words to get this message across "Thank you very much. I'll be making the final decision." My virtual assistant told me that her father used to tell her "You listen to me and then you do as you damn well please." She always answered him "Yes, Dad, but I always consider what you say." It worked for her.

If you don't see yourself as the end-of-the-road authority in your life, I suspect it is time for you to strengthen that role. Like an actor, study the dialogue, practice in front of a mirror, have a friend read the lines with you. Do whatever it takes to get comfortable in this role before you have a chance to use your skills real time. When real time happens, you'll be ready. Oh the first few times that you assert yourself, your listeners will more than likely be shocked. You've changed the pattern! You're no longer their pawn. You're becoming your own person. That is one of the gifts from divorce: you can create a whole new concept of Self and it will always be an improvement.

So be grateful that your family is there, running you through your paces. You are the authority in your life and the lives of your children. Your family had the opportunity to exercise this authority when they were the parentsBusiness Management Articles, and now it's your turn to be loving and supportive as you see it. Keep firm convictions about the new role you are assuming. Be loving. Listen with attention. Know you're capable And then do as you damn well please.

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Len Stauffenger's parents taught him life's simple wisdom. As a divorced dad, he wanted to share that simple wisdom with his girls. "Getting Over It: Wisdom for Divorced Parents," his book, is the solution. Len is an author, a Success Coach and an Attorney.

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