For this week, I invited my coaching colleague and classmate, Rachelle Rude to explore how her role within her family and with her parents has evolved, changed, and maybe even stayed partly the same. Her approach to contemplating this evolution is a great example of the type of engaged inquiry leaders might pursue when examining balance and family in their own life.
Contemplating Our Evolving Family Roles
by Rachelle Rude, Coach
When asked the question, “what are the important things in life?”, there is usually one common thread to many folks’ answers: family. This can be a broad concept including blood relatives, close friends or even pets. Amongst the highs and lows, the calm and the chaos, there is no place we’d rather be than with family. But what exactly is your place within the family? Whether a child, mother, father, son, daughter or grandparent, it becomes challenging to meaningfully transform the role we play within each relationship to best fit each stage of our life.
As a grown adult it has definitely been a challenge to find my ideal position within my relationship with my parents. I want to give advice, do things for them, make pressing decisions on their well-being, all while having deep and meaningful conversations. However, they don’t want to be told what to do, (especially by their daughter), just like I didn’t when I was growing up.
So what IS my place within this evolving relationship?
My mother always read this book to me when I was younger that discusses the relationship between mother and son. Throughout the son’s life, from infant to adult, she cradled him and said, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” As the years have past, my relationship with my parents has changed leaps and bounds. Recently, trying to be their nutritionist, financial advisor and wellness coach have all lead to frustration and heartache. So when I asked them how can I be supportive, they both answered that they simply wanted their daughter.
I discovered at this time that when you are finding your place within family there is no right or wrong path since every family member is different, though there are some guidelines that might assist while seeking out your role. I found that asking the question, “How can I play a supportive role?” allows the other members in the family to feel loved and heard in a very profound way. This insight gave me the opportunity to create a space that doesn’t steal my energy. Now, I can love more, give grace to my family, and enjoy my relationship with my parents. Now it is much more synergistic. While I am still their daughter, I can also be a supportive individual to them that has perspective, humor, honesty and unconditional love. It is STILL challenging to let go, but I know the resilience is in creating a balanced relationship.
Here’s an article on with great insight on “Maintaining a Healthy Relationship with Your Parents”. I encourage you to have an honest conversation with your parents and other members of your family, to seek out the supportive role that fits best for your family: http://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/maintain-a-healthy-relationship-with-your-parents/