Seemingly out of nowhere, it arrives. That moment. That awkwardness that stretches, like a taffy pull that gets in between you and the person you are trying to engage with. When you picked an awkward time to end the handouts to a young relative, it can be a tricky situation to maneuver. In lieu of correcting your timing, how do you at least survive the moment?
Talking about finances with a young relative is rarely straightforward. It is difficult to balance providing guidance without overwhelming or seeming ungrateful for their help. This can make special occasions with direct monetary handouts a very tricky minefield to navigate. In many ways, it makes sense that proactively ending the handouts creates a challenge.
Unfortunately, the dialogue of this delicate intersection of money and family relationships means that no matter when you choose to navigate it, somebody, somehow, may find themselves unhappy with the process or outcome. But when, in an attempt to show a good example of successfully tackling a difficult task in life, you time it poorly, it can make the situation so much worse.
So what do you do when you have already pushed the pause button on the proceedings? This doesn’t have to remain a recurring battle. Here are some tips to address this pressing issue and to make it better.
The first step is to breathe. Give yourself a few moments to think before responding. Do not rush into an answer. Taking a second to think allows you to assess two key components. First, does the timing feel off because somebody is personally hurt by the conversation itself? If so, it may be more appropriate to address the issue of hurt feelings, rather than pointing out the misstep in timing. It might also be important that everybody expresses gratitude for the blessings of having the autonomy to engage in these conversations.
Secondly, consider the environment where the conversation was taking place. What value did either party hope to gain from engaging in a financial conversation about a specific gift at this particular moment of time?
If possible, take a few moments to talk in private with the person or people involved. This can lead to useful discussions that enables both sides of the family to feel heard and respected. Another good course of action is to reflect on the potential positive contribution that was meant to come out of this exchange—independently of the current negative energy surrounding it.
Furthermore, continue to cultivate a sense of deep hearing and speaking with one another. Even if uncomfortable, resist the urge for either party to shut down and ignore the other, especially during difficult conversations.
Consider involving somebody else from the family in the conversation if it helps redirect the energy in a positive plus constructive direction. This could potentially lighten the atmosphere, allowing the eventual resolution that much easier.
The family consists of beautifully exquisite human beings who have good intentions but need a little bit of help navigating this challenging time. Above all, creating an empathetic environment will foster a spirit of learning amidst a plethora of emotions. And with that comes the potential to learn and grow in love a bit more every time.
No matter the cause, it is important to remember that navigating a challenging moment with a young relative when you chose awkwardly to end the handouts is possible. With a bit of thoughtfulness and care, that moment can be repurposed to inspire better communication amongst family members.
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