“The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

This notion seems to contradict how most of us behave. We tend to say things to our spouses and our children that we would never be caught dead saying to a perfect stranger. Why is that? Why do we think that it is acceptable to allow politeness to fly out of the window with those most dear to us?

Maybe it’s a sign of trust. We can really be ourselves around our family and we don’t have to be so “on guard” all the time. That may be the case, but here’s one question. Why wouldn’t you want to put your best foot forward to those you love the most? After all,  they are the ones you will end up seeing day in and day out. Try this: In dealing with your spouse or your kids today, pretend that this is the first day you’ve met them. Act as if you care what they think of you, and chances are, you’ll make quite an impression.

by Hal Runkel, LMFT

Author of “Scream Free Parenting.”

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