Articles on Family Matters:

Family Feuds - Who Can Get Affected?

Arguments and disagreements happen in everyone's family. A family feud is when arguments and disagreements get out of hand and are blown way out of proportion and the rest of the family is dragged into the argument.

Most of the time, what started the feud can be rectified before the entire family is drawn in, causing anger and resentment and it is passed down to the next generation.

A misunderstanding between family members that are too stubborn or pigheaded to admit they were wrong and apologize, usually causes a feud.

They simply let the disagreement fester and, after a while, it starts to cause resentment. Soon afterwards, the fighting and feuding starts to get ugly. The parties' involved start to lash out at everyone and the fighting continues.

All to often, the family member who are feuding ask for the opinion of other family members. This is what draws the rest of the family into the feud. A family feud can divide an otherwise happy family into bitter enemies. It only takes two people to start a family feud.

One of the harshest realities of family fights is that the children suffer for it the most. They do not understand how the feud originated and are raised in an atmosphere of intense anger and, sometimes, even hate. This can have a detrimental affect on them. It can stunt their development and affect their ability to feel any other emotion besides aggression.

Perhaps the worst part of a family dispute is that all of these negative emotions can be completely avoided by simply sitting down and calmly discussing what caused the rift to begin with. If you have kindness and compassion and a level head, you will never have a family feud.

Once a family battle has been started, it can be difficult to end. Both sides feel that they are right and sometimes making amends takes time.

It is important to get everything out in the open, discuss the problem without shouting and fighting. Self-discipline will be crucial. Leave those who were drawn into the feud out of the discussions, sometimes they can just add fuel to the fire.

There are times when the feuding parties cannot resolve their differences on their own. This is when a mediator will be very helpful. A mediator is a non-involved party that can listen to both sides and come up with a solution that is acceptable by both parties. Sometimes this can take a long time because there is so much animosity between the parties. Most of the time the parties want to resolve their problems, but are too stubborn to do so.

Family feuds often cause pain and confusion for the younger members. It is healthy to argue once in a while, but holding a grudge is not. Always settle your disagreements before they become out of control and affect every member of your family.

Brooke Hayles
21 Dec 2006

Brooke Hayles
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Always on a Roller Coaster

Like any parent, Madam June Jumain takes her kids out on the weekend. But unlike other parents, she does not take them to the beach or the park, but to her workplace - the 2Hot Cafe at Esplanade Mall. She owns the Cafe, along with another outlet at Tradehub21, Boon Lay Way, and recently opened franchise outlet at VivoCity.

Running her own business means that she often has to work on weekends. Taking the kids along is not an arrangement she is too happy about, but this way, she at least gets to spend some time with her children, rather than leaving them at home as she does all week. Her 14-year-old son Jazsley is able to keep himself entertained, but still needs supervision, while her four-year-old daughter Iffah Julia requires a lot of attention. The little girl does not seem to mind tagging along with mum. In fact, she proudly states that she goes to work with Mummy on Saturday and Sunday.

As in the case with many working mothers, Madam Jumain's biggest challenge is time management. And the fact that she is her own boss means she is on call 24/7 to deal with any emergencies that crop up at work - such as workers who call in sick or chefs who do not turn up.

Balancing her business and the demands of her children makes her feel that she is on a roller-coaster. When she is in the cafe, she deals with constant telephone calls from her daughter, even as she is attending to customers or supervising the kitchen. And she always tries to get home as soon as possible because her daughter refuses to go to bed until mum is back. She has a miad who helps with the housework, and her mother looks in everyday to ensure that all is well, so she has a support system that makes things easier.

Initially Mdam Jumain had a hard time coping with all the demands but now she is used to multi-tasking. She looked back at herself taking the plunge in settig up her own business after working in sales for so many years. She thought if she could do sales for her companies she represented, why not for herself. As she recalled how she would work eight to ten hours work for her previous employers and thinking at that time she could do it for herself with much more flexibility now.

Her family has always been in the F&B business and she always has an interest in food, thus the transition was fairly easy. She practically did everything in the beginning, spending 12 hours in her work. Now with a system it is much easier as ahe does not have to over-see everything. Almost everything runs on auto-pilot.

She now has an extra pair of hands helping out - her husband, Iskandar, who had a government job, before she cajoled him to join her six months ago. He too is enjoying being his own boss and is a source of motivation and support to Madam Jumain.

The Cafe specialises in Asian contemporary cuisine, and won the Malay category of the New Dish Creation contest in the Singapore Food Festival for its "achar fish".

Despite being rushed off her feet most of the time, Madam Jumain does not wish for a more relaxed lifestyle. She said that she still wants to work to stay mentally active. She however hopes to retire at 40 but envisions that it will probably take longer.

Given her desire to stay busy, she will probably find something else to keep her occupied when that happens.

Uma Venkatraman
29 Dec 2006

This article was abstracted from the Straits Times, Recruit on December 28, 2006.

Zebra - A Father Gives His Daughter a Gift of Understanding

I remember the day I first discovered how emotion coaching might work with my own daughter, Moriah. She was two at the time and we were on a cross-country flight home after visiting with relatives. Bored, tired, and cranky, Moriah asked me for Zebra, her favourite stuffed animal and comfort object. Unfortunately, we had absentmindedly packed the well-worn critter in a suitcase that was checked at the baggage counter.

"Iím sorry, honey, but we canít get Zebra right now. Heís in the big suitcase in another part of the plane," I explained.

"I want Zebra," she whined pitifully.

"I know, sweetheart. But Zebra isnít here. Heís in the baggage compartment underneath the plane and Daddy canít get him until we get off the plane. Iím sorry."

"I want Zebra! I want Zebra!" she moaned again. Then she started to cry, twisting in her safety seat and reaching futilely toward a bag on the floor where sheíd seen me go for snacks.

"I know you want Zebra," I said, feeling my blood pressure rise.

"But heís not in that bag. Heís not here and I canít do anything about it. Look, why donít we read about Ernie," I said, fumbling for one of her favourite picture books.

"Not Ernie!" She wailed, angry now. "I want him Zebra. I want him now!í

By now, I was getting "do something" looks from the passengers, from the airline attendants, from my wife, seated across the aisle. I looked at Moriahís face, red with anger, and imagined how frustrated she must feel. After all, wasnít I the guy who could whip up a peanut butter sandwich on demand? Make huge purple dinosaurs appear with the flip of a TV switch? Why was I withholding her favourite toy from her? Didnít I understand how much she wanted it?

I felt bad. Then it dawned on me: I couldnít get Zebra, but I could offer the next best thingóa fatherís comfort.

"You wish you had Zebra now," I said to her.

"Yeah," she said sadly.

"And youíre angry because we canít get him for you."


"You wish you had Zebra right now," I repeated, as she stared at me, looking rather curious, almost surprised.

"Yeah," she muttered. "I want him now,"

"Youíre tired now, and smelling Zebra and cuddling with him would feel real good. I wish we had Zebra here so you could hold him. Even better, I wish we could get out of these seats and find a big, soft bed full of all your animals and pillows where we could just lie down."

"Yeah," she agreed.

"We canít get Zebra because heís in another part of the airplane," I said "That makes you feel frustrated."

"Yeah," she said with a sigh.

"Iím sorry," I said, watching the tension leave from her face. She rested her head against the back of her safety seat. She continued to complain softly a few more times, but she was growing calmer. Within a few minutes, she was asleep.

Although Moriah was just two years old, she clearly knew what she wantedóher Zebra. Once she began to realize that getting it wasnít possible, she wasnít interested in my excuses, arguments, or my diversions. My validation, however, was another matter. Finding out that I understood how she felt seemed to make her feel better. For me, it was a memorable testament to the power of empathy.

Note: I would just change one thing about this story. I would say that John didn't just give his daughter "the next best thing." I would say he gave his daughter something even better -- her father's understanding. S. Hein

Steve Hein
04 Mar 2007