They say you can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your family. But your friends can choose to leave you, and in tough times, it is your family who stays with you, no matter how much they disapprove of your actions. At the end of the day, it is the family that keeps you company, they are the ones who believe in the best in you. For families who have drifted apart because of a fight, a crisis or because of distance, here are some steps you can take to rekindle the old times and re-establish family ties:
- Take the initiative to apologize. Most families fall apart because of conflicts that do not necessarily involve all family members, but eventually, they take sides, and the family ties are broken. You can assess the root of the problem, and even if it was not your fault, you can initiate the apology, a sincere one, and open the lines of communication again. Maybe you and the other members of the family have realized your mistakes, but are too proud to admit them, or too scared to apologize in the fear of being rejected and hated. Take the risk, talk about it, and resolve the conflict without being too emotional or confrontational.
- Write a letter or send an email. For those who have lost touch for years, you can send a letter or an email. With today's technology, there are ways to track your relatives through social networking sites such as Facebook. You can send a message and attach your recent family photo. Then you can set a date to meet, and introduce your respective families. If you are single, then you can give them a visit.
- Attend family gatherings. It is sad that most relatives "appear" only during funerals. This should not be the case. If you have a regular family reunion, show up and it will surely be a good surprise. Even if some family members may react otherwise, it will be an opportunity to open the communication lines again and possibly resolve old conflicts.
- Use the kids. For siblings who have disagreements, they can "use" their kids instead, to start a conversation. Questions like "when is his birthday?" "what school does he attend?" can be the start of a meaningful conversation, and eventually the siblings will feel a sense of connection, and they can discuss their issues more lightly. It is also good for the kids to see their parents reunited with their relatives, as this will set an example for them on what love and forgiveness can do.
- Keep in touch. After the first step in reconciliation (as some problems cannot be resolved in one sitting), it is best to keep in touch, and be more open to avoid further conflict in the future. It will also help the children to have a stronger bond with their relatives and avoid any problems with the family when they grow up. Keeping in touch with family also makes you feel more secure and at peace.