The world is fast moving and changes are taking place in droves. Family, being part of the global community is also not an exception in this regard. As many families are being affected by the wind of change their nature is also being altered in different ways. The changes affect value system, beliefs, social relationship, political and economic structures. So thinking, perception and behaviours are all taking new forms. In a nutshell, families are under siege today as their traditional roles and importance are being constantly challenged and eroded.
Notwithstanding the pressures the family is going through there is still need to remain calm and know some values to hold on to in order to maintain sanity within families.
1. Couples should know what information to share with the children
There is this old adage that says that it is not all fabrics that are spread in the sun. In the same vein, it is not all information in the family that parents share with their children especially when they are not emotionally matured to handle such information. For example, it is not proper for the children to be told that a particular parent is the one providing for all the needs of the family. This may compel the children to switch loyalty in favour of the perceived benefactor parent. All other flaws of any of the parents or both should not be subject of discussion with the children until they are matured enough to handle such issues. In other words, parents should not talk down themselves before their children.
2. Couples should be aware of their capacity to take up required responsibilities.
Many men want their wives to be housewives, believing that their incomes are sufficient to meet the various needs of their families. Some of them prefer this because they believe the wives are traditionally meant to take care of the home front and therefore do not need to work. Some other men do this because they are just being protective, believing that exposing their wives to the work place environment may create room for other men to have access to their wives and the attendant temptations to engage in infidelity. The reality of todays world is that one persons income can hardly pay all the bills in the homes. The bills cover house rent, car maintenance, electricity, water bills, fuelling cost, educational fees for the children and parents, personal care needs, feeding cost, to mention just a few. Leaving all these to be catered for by one of the couples income is unrealistic. To this end, the method being used to address the problem being guided against may create a fertile ground for financial crises that may hit the family. This no doubt will create room for mutual distrust and disharmony. Many homes have been destabilished on account of this.
3. Couples should ensure impartiality, fairness and justice among the children
Children are great observers, especially in the family. The fact that they do not talk about this as frequently as expected does not in any way suggest they are fools. Parents and guardians should be very mindful of this. They should therefore be treated with some measure of fairness. Irrespective of what happens, parents should not show that they love some children than the others. In any family all children are equal regardless of gender, the only way difference set is through age which is the culture of all society. We should not show preferential treatment in the way we address issues concerning the children. This is a form of unguided emotion that can disrupt peaceful co-existence in the families during and after the lives of the parents.
4. Couples should engage in effective communication
Communication, communication and communication all the way. Family members, especially the parents should engage in empathic and productive communication among themselves and with their children. Children too should be encouraged to follow suit in their dealings among themselves and with their parents. This is the lubricant for healthy relationship within the family.