Millennium Post

Nurturing healthy relationships

A relationship ends whenever someone becomes so focused on their own individual goals that they forget the goals they have created together as a couple

We have two children aged 8 and 11. Can you please guide on how to constructively manage the growing sibling rivalry.

Mrs Mehta, New Delhi

Treat each child equally. Sibling rivalry is normal when two children are close in age or of the same gender. You may make it worse if you treat children differently or favour one more than the other. Give each child a turn with your undivided attention. Make the time to do things separately with each child so they have some one-on-one interaction with you. Focus on each child's strengths. Don't make comparisons between children as it will only lead to further competition. Guide your children through difficult emotions. Acknowledge and talk them through feelings of anger, jealousy and resentment. Teach your children how to manage conflict without you. Show them how to solve problems themselves or to handle situations like teasing. Your positive attention may encourage them to be nice to one another. Be fair. Make sure each child gets an even share of privileges and chores. Reinforce positive behaviour. Set up a reward and punishment system. For example, fighting leads to time out, but playing nicely earns a privilege such as staying up a bit later. Let the children sort out minor differences themselves. Working out ways to compromise will prepare them for healthy relationships in the future.

My boss is feeling insecure about me. I feel I'm better than him at work. How to handle this issue?

Dilip K Sai, Kolkata

Show your boss that you respect their ability and ask for their advice. It might be difficult for you because you feel that you too are an expert. But it will help to build your relationship. Make sure you try to make your boss look good. Be ready to share your ideas. Accept that sometimes your ideas might be presented as theirs. If you have contacts higher up the office, be ready to share them with your boss. And, if your boss has unsung talents, make sure your senior contacts know about them. If you do find yourself relegated to the dark corner, see what you can do to brighten things up. In most kinds of work, there is some opportunity to make a positive mark if you look for it. Overall – keep your dignity but turn yourself into an asset for your boss, and not a threat.

I am in relationship with a married man, he doesn't have any children. He always talks negatively about his marriage and wife but I don't know where I stand. I am slipping in to depression. Please help.

Name withheld

It is not easy to be where you are. Please understand, his family will always come first and that includes his wife. Simply because he talks in a negative way about his marriage doesn't mean that his obligations to his wife are any less important to him. Whether or not they have children is a moot point; he will always feel as if he has to be a husband to her and take care of the marriage, whether he truly loves her or not. Their life together includes friendships and a social network that is shared and comfortable for him. He won't risk losing that. You need to step back and identify the priorities, your priorities in a relationship with a married man. Think with your head and not with your heart. Ensure you love yourself a bit more to understand that this is perhaps not going to be a happy story.

I have been trying to solve this for a while. I have a jealous husband. What can I do to have a better relationship?

Name withheld

Instead of mentally switching off or reacting with counter-criticism, be patient and hear out your partner when he begins to complain. Sometimes it helps to let a jealous partner know that he can talk to you about his feelings, that you will listen to a partner's fears and anxieties and try to understand where such negative emotions are coming from. Maybe if your partner feels understood after talking about his problems in a supportive environment, he will be able to move beyond such feelings more effectively.

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