Should We Move Closer?

I hope you don't mind me asking you about my personal situation.

My parents have suggested that they wish to move to the same city as us. The issue arises in regards to the children and the influence of the grandparents. They are not practicing their Islam currently and at times have a negative attitude towards Islam. They also tend to favour one of the children and give most their attention to that child. With this combination of matters and their desire to be in the same city we are in a little dilemma of what to do for the best. Yes the love and company of ones parents is important but on the other hand the potential detriment to the kids could have long term consequences.

What is your advice for this current situation?


Alhamdolillah I'm so glad you took the initiate to reach out for help.

My advice would be for you to make sure you work on your relationship with them.... and here is how:

>>>Be strong in your marital union:
Remember, you don't have to be obedient to their every wish, and you have just as much right to pursue your own interests. Your family shouldn't suffer as a result of their behaviour, but quite often its our attitude we have that shapes the relationship dynamics we create.

>>>Make things easier for them:
Perhaps you could move a bit closer? I understand that don't want their negative influence, so it’s best to keep your distance, but at the same time they do want to be a part of your lives. Phone them up regularly, and get your wife to read the Daughter in Law Rules, by Sally Shields. Remember their special days: if they have an appointment, if someone in their extended family is getting married, if someone has died... keep a track of their mood and ask them how they are doing, ask them how their health is, etc. Tell them you miss them.... you can do a lot with your approach to be sweet devoted children (but at the same time, not obeying their every wish). If they say something you don't agree with, just say ‘hmm... okay...’ and carry on living your own life.

>>> Have some compassion for their way:
They are not doing anything intended to hurt you, they are just being themselves... and that's no crime.... :) They probably favour one child because he is a boy and culturally influenced eastern people are like that. But you can't blame them for having a favourite. It’s a choice they made, and you guys may have to respect that. (it may not be the right choice in your eyes, but we can't judge other peoples actions, that’s for Allah alone.) They are pushy and demanding because they love you. Not because they hate you. But they are doing things unislamically because that is the choice they made, and not because they hate basically: they are not doing anything to hurt you, its all being done out of a love and the best way they know how to.

>>> Limit your meetings with them:
with three factors in mind: Frequency, Distance and Time. The further away you live (distance), the less you visit them (frequency), and the time spent there will need to be longer. The more often you visit (frequency) the less time you can stay, but you may have to move closer (distance).

>>> work out a healthy visiting limit
so either party doesn’t enter the danger zone... so that means you dont expose yourself to them so much that you end up being damaged, and that you don't withdraw from them so much that they become damaged. (Dealing with relatives even if you can't stand them, Kirschner & Brinkman)

>>> work out alternative ways of communicating with them:
if you don't like to visit them, then phone them, send letters/cards/emails... arrange Skype video chats so they don't fall into the danger zone. Phone them regularly for short bursts, and when it gets too much say ‘oh I have to go and do something REALLY important’ (getting away from them IS really important at that time!!! :)

As you can see, it’s all about changing your attitude. It’s time to stop asking ‘why, why, why are they doing all of this... they should know better’, etc. and start to understand why they are doing it (out of love and out of their own understanding). It’s time to start being proactive and coming to solutions where both parties are happy: win-win solutions. (you may not be able to make them happy all of the time, but if you do positive things from your end, then they will start to feel a bit more loved, and therefore a bit more happy) And once everyone is winning, they will change their attitudes and become happier and understanding people. All three of these are habits of highly effective people! (The seven habits of highly effective people, Covey).

I hope this was helpful,


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