Saturday, April 26, 2008

dealing with family gossip

by Tina Martin

Many years ago, after witnessing our parent's family struggles (caused by gossip) my own siblings and I decided that this was not how we wanted to be. We came up with a few ground rules for ourselves that we try very hard to stick to.

1. Should any of us have a falling out with our parents or each other, we would not take sides.

2. We do not discuss the situation with the other siblings other than to offer a supportive ear and constructive advice for healing, not hurting.

3. We do not discuss things that are told to us in confidence with the other members of our family, even if they appear to know it already. We can never assume they have received ALL the details and we may slip and divulge something the person did not want known.

4. We respect each of us has different ways to raise our families, keep our household, and spend our money. We value the differences and do our best not to criticize. I say "do our best" because at the end of the day, we are all still human and it happens once in awhile.

5. If someone in the family slips up and "gossips" to one of us, we gently remind them that they need to check themselves and see a) Is this about the person or themselves, and b) are we discussing this to find resolution or to complain?

Don't take sides, over analyse, belittle, label, ignore. *Supportive ear *Keep confidences *Don't critisize *complaint or sesolution. There are so many people in this world that would turn on you in a heartbeat, your family should not be one of them.

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