NEWS from Self-Directed Personal Assistant Services

Handling Family Squabbles

In any family there can be awkward situations, moments of conflict and hurt feelings. And they may react differently to your decision to become more independent. People have so much interdependence, you can hit some bumps along the way. The same goes for business settings. That means, when you hire a family member to be your personal assistant – employee – you can hit some bumps along the way.

Add to that, when you hire a family member to be your personal assistant, it can be really hard to establish a “boss” role. And sometimes the issues go back as far as the childhood sandbox. Work-life balance can be hard, you can’t just fire them because they are not doing a good job, and then have Thanksgiving dinner with them. You end up postponing hard decisions to avoid triggering battles.

The underlying issues in these relationships can be your opposing goals. You want to be independent, but your family member wants to stay in control. Or perhaps you both have different tolerances for risk. And then there is the historical baggage that family members carry around – “Mom always loved you best.” Resentment can be a roadblock to moving forward.

But you can resolve these issues. Lay out a clear vision and strategy for the independence you want, then decisions that affect it will follow into
 place. Adding structure can help. Set up clear goals and expectations up front. Try an organizational chart with goals and policies. Try coaching the family member so they can see the same future that you do. Remember, it may mean you need to make changes or compromises along the way. But if you both commit to the goal of being independent, then each step is easier to do.

Family members can squabble passionately, but would still go to the ends of the earth for each other. For the most part, disputes can be resolved, forgiven and moved past. Handling family conflict is like a game of Whack-A-Mole. Knock one down and another will erupt. Instead, try to think of it like a chess match. All the pieces are related, they have ways they can and do move around the board, and you have to be strategic and look at the whole picture.

Set your independence goal, decide what you need to do to achieve it, prepare for unexpected things that may happen, and make a plan to deal with them and you can reduce potential disputes.