When a family member passes away, it's common for his or her family to band together to not only grieve, but to also prepare for the funeral service. In an ideal world, everyone will get along well and will be able to comfort each other as they complete the tasks that are needed for the service. In reality, however, there are often situations in which family members don't get along — and such challenges can add to the stress for everyone at a time that is already difficult. If you're taking charge of the funeral arrangements and don't want to have petty family squabbles derail things, here are some tips that you can employ.
Directly Address The Issue
There's no need to tiptoe around the issue and hope that the family members who don't get along will put their differences aside during this difficult time. That might be the case, but they might also fight and be difficult, making things worse for those around them. There's no harm in directly addressing the issue. You don't have to be mean, but you can say something such as, "Look, I know you have had your challenges in the past. I hope that you both know this is a time that we all need to work together, so I trust that you'll keep things civil."
Keep The People Apart
It's common to have the family working on various funeral-related tasks in the days between the death and the service. At a time that can already be stressful, you don't want peoples' issues to boil over. In many cases, it's a good idea to keep those who don't customarily get along well apart from one another. For example, if you need to write an obituary, don't assign this job to two people who don't like each other — they may disagree on the wording, and then start to bicker. Keeping such individuals apart will reduce the risk of a problem.
Suggest A Timeout
In some cases, your whole family will be together during this difficult time, and petty squabbles may start to arise. Ideally, people will know when to back down, but this isn't always the case. There's no harm in suggesting a timeout for whatever you're working on. For example, if things are getting a little tense, simply say, "All right, let's take a short break here and come back to this in half an hour when we're all feeling a little more relaxed."
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