Transitioning with Harmony - How to Stop Parents FightingWhere is it written that your parents have to go south for the winter together? Many aging farmers like to visit the sun belt at this time of year to get rest, connect with friends and have some well-deserved fun.  But what if one of your parents prefers to stay home? When both spouses cannot find a compromise, it’s fuel for a fight.

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8 Things to Remember about Farm Transition

1. Transition is Tough but Doable

Maintaining harmony during a transition may be difficult, but it is possible. What choices can you make to create a sense of fun and fulfillment as you make plans for succession? Fighting over taking trips simply reinforces the limiting belief that couples must travel together. The adult successors love to see Dad and Mom leave the farm for a few months to prove that they can handle the management of the business. If you are the parent wanting to stay put, send your spouse off with their siblings, cousins, or friends. Be adaptable!

2. Feeling Stuck will Pass, with Time

When feeling particularly stuck, it’s important to remember that this too shall pass. In one case, a farm family gathered their kids and their spouses together to talk about the tension in the parents’ relationship. The kids agreed it was time for the parents to get marriage counseling as the parents’ clashing dreams and wishes needed a reality check. The entire family was present to create solutions and workable options for better harmony. The timelines put on the flipchart created a sense of hope for concrete action steps.

feeling stuck will pass

3. Transition is Necessary

We are all aging. Are your current roles enhancing your current life stage? You are not 21 anymore. Just because a job is tough doesn’t mean you avoid it. Break the planning steps into small chunks and get each piece of the puzzle face up…look at your wills, power of attorney, insurance, financial and lifestyle needs, family meeting action steps, business vision for the farm, tax planning, and time for fun. Each of these pieces can be a   tab in your planning binder, and you ensure each section has a great advisory team helping you make the best decisions. If you break down the process into workable steps, you will feel a sense of progress. Which advisor do you need to see next week?

4. Keep Up Your Health and Energy

What gives you energy? It is important to know what gives you energy and what keeps it up. Practice good self-care and well-being. You can’t have the resiliency to take risks or let go if you are running on empty. Dad might want to have a few weeks in the sun, and Mom might want to visit her sister in Victoria. Recognize that “different is not wrong, it is just different.” Your adult children want grandparents who can let go of the farm’s demands, play with grandkids, and enjoy the fruit of your 40 years of hard work. Play!

keep up your energy

5. Creating Drama is a Choice

If your life is full of drama, ask yourself why you are choosing it. Marilee Adams, the author of “Change Your Questions, Change Your Life”, says that we choose to have a learner mindset and be responsible for our actions, or we choose to be judges and drag others down with us into a pit of despair. As parents, your dramatic episodes are frustrating your spouse, your successors, and your family dynamic. Choose to understand the nature of your conflict and embrace positive behaviours. If you want to do a $40 online assessment of your conflict habits, email me at with  Conflict Profile in the subject line, and get started becoming more aware of your hot buttons.

6. Talking is the Work

Whether it’s putting the love back into your marriage, creating a workable new vision for your life, or setting up the timelines for a positive farm transition,   good communication is critical. There are 19 free tools in the Farm Family Toolkit on my website. Print out the communications styles tool to find what suits you:

  • action communication which is brief and direct
  • the people approach, which talks about relationships first before business
  • process communication to know each step and option
  • the idea communicator who likes time to share tangents and give you the big picture

My clients’ most requested desire for coaching is to have better communication. Sometimes parents who are fighting need a mediator willing to help shine a light on common interests that can connect them to a common goal and purpose. One of my client families did this and was thrilled to see they could have harmony once they both agreed on the healthy boundaries needed in their situation. This came about through a family meeting with honesty, shared emotions and feelings, and a spirit of cooperation.

7. The Legacy of the Farm Depends on Everyone Acting like Emotionally Mature Adults during the Decision Making

Sharing your emotions in a healthy manner creates healthier conflict resolution. Tears are good when they are genuine rather than intended to be manipulating. I affirm young men and aging fathers who shed tears in my presence because it means they are finally able to express deep longings pent up for far too long. Ready to explore coaching in the area of dealing with your emotions? Check out Emotional Wealth Management Inc. My colleague Dietrich Desmarais is a John Maxwell trained coach, skilled at helping you find “joy bonds” for your brain. He’s also willing to work with you on Facetime calls so that you can see him from your farm!

emotionally mature during transition

8. The Light is at the End of the Tunnel

The reward for transition is worth the journey. What step do you need to take next?

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.


Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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