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Many of us erroneously believe that if someone truly loves us we should be able to talk to and treat them without as much carefulness and tact as we employ with others, but this simply isn’t true.

The fact that the home is a “safe place” doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take others’ feelings into consideration. We cannot afford to be nice and diplomatic with others and then treat our spouse and children shabbily.

This year, resolve to treat your family with as much diplomacy as you would/do your colleagues – senior and junior – and your clients.

Spouses and children are known to bring great pleasure and joy, and yet they are also capable of driving you up a wall at other times, in ways outsiders cannot. Accept that nobody is perfect. Everybody has their flaws and shortcomings, including you. I remember reading many years ago that constant attention to the weaknesses of any relationship will weaken it, and constant attention to the strengths of any relationship will strengthen it.

Be proud of your partner and the fact that you both made the best decisions of your lives in choosing each other. Focus on the good things in your partner and children. Speak highly of your family to their hearing, and also when they’re not present – your words will get back to them. This boosts morale and encourages them to give you even more reasons to be proud of them; in this way you create the opposite of a vicious circle.

Constant attention to the weaknesses of any relationship will weaken it, and constant attention to the strengths of any relationship will strengthen it.

If your spouse of any of the children comes to you with a complaint or an issue that bothers them, or there’s a misunderstanding, don’t brush it aside or take it lightly. Listen, affirm the validity of their feelings, and let them know you’ll look into it. Then actually do so, and get back to them.

Are there things you would like to change about your family? Do it with love and respect. Remind yourself often of your vision for your family, and what family represents for you. You go the extra mile for your clients and bosses; your family doesn’t deserve any less.

None of this means you should turn into Miss Goody Two Shoes or become a doormat just because you want to be a diplomat in your family. In fact, if you don’t take care of yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally, you cannot manage your family.

The point is simply avoiding a mind-set that tells us our families don’t deserve the same deliberate diplomatic and gracious treatment we give to others. By employing diplomacy, we can fix what’s not good, and make what is good even better.

As it is with other organisations and institutions, so it is with family; put in the work, reap the rewards!

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This article was first published on 13th January 2017


Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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