I recently had the opportunity to join Shaun Haney on his podcast, Mind Your Farm Business, to discuss the effects of bringing a new daughter-in-law or son-in-law into the farm family. Marrying into the farm brings with it challenges for all involved. After all, the person coming into the family plays a critical role. They can either be the glue that brings the family closer together or the dynamite that blows them apart.
During the podcast, Shaun and I discussed a number of factors that need to be considered when a new member joins the family. As an example, while the existing family may have their own style of communicating and dealing with conflict, a new member may have a completely different way that isn’t in sync. This adds a totally new component to the existing family that needs to be dealt with. It’s how this is dealt with that will eventually lead to the addition of the new family member being a success or failure.
For those dealing with the addition of a new family member through marriage, here are three key characteristics for finding success:
1. Everyone has a voice. This means that everyone is allowed to communicate freely and has a voice.
2. Love and Respect. Everyone is kind, gracious and respectful of all others in the family.
3. Acceptance of People’s Identity. This is the basic understanding that everyone is an individual and may, or may not, follow the same beliefs and goals that you do.
For more on this topic, you can listen to the full interview below:
Another key to ensuring the success of spouse and parent is the ability to make quick repair of conflict. Most families need to communicate better. Ignoring or avoiding tough conversations will not work. All parties must have the ability to stand up and ask for what they need in order to resolve an uncomfortable situation. This is what I refer to as ‘Discussing the Undiscussabull™’. Additionally, it’s what you do as a couple in the marriage to make your communication stronger so that your intent is well-received by others in the family when addressing conflict.
If you are looking for more information on this topic and steps to achieve more harmony and less conflict on the farm, pick up a copy of my book, The Farming In-Law Factor.