The family member we never talk about

There is a person in your family who never gets a mention, I just know it. A person who is so important they could transform your family relationship if you let them.

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Have I pricked your interest now?

Let me explain.

When I was in the police training to be a sergeant they drummed three things into us. When you are dealing with an incident, think of it in three terms.

What is a good result for the victim?

What is a good result for you as a police officer?


What is a good result for the service?

Or sometimes they would remind us before we did anything that we should think

How does his reflect on me?

How does this reflect on the station?

How will this reflect on the service as a whole?

It got drummed into me so much, I still think in threes naturally.

So what has this got to do with families and parenting?

Let me continue

Very early in my career I was around a kitchen table with a family who were at odds about going on holiday together. The mum wanted to go to one place, the dad another and the child didn’t even want to go. Whatever they did they didn’t seem to agree at all and arguments were occurring daily. This clearly wasn’t their only issue, but it was having an effect on their daily communication.

I sat there for a while letting them continue to have a go at each other than I just asked one simple question.

“What would the family want?”

They all stopped and looked at me strangely.

“If the family was a person, what would it want, what would it ask for and what you all do for the sake of the family?’

The conversation shifted and changed from them all saying what they wanted as individuals to talking about what the family wanted and needed. It worked wonders.

And it still continues to, with all the families I work with, including my own.

When my children don’t want to do something I ask them what the family needs and they often change their mind. When I really want to sit in bed watching TV rather than eat a family meal I ask what the family needs, it’s always obvious.

I’m not saying it is a magic pill or will solve all problems, but what I am saying is that when you start to think of your family as a team, a unit, or as a person we stop thinking how can I win and we start thinking how the family can win.

Sarah Newton

Author, Speaker and Youth Coach

Sarah Newton has shared her innovative wisdom with millions who have tuned into her TV and Radio shows, followed her writing and listened to her unconventional talks. She has been described as a catalyst, daring all she meets to break out from social norms and follow their own path. She has worked in youth empowerment for over 30 years, first as a police officer and then eventually running her own business, via a stint at Disney World in Florida. Sarah has a no-nonsense, down-to-earth approach to solving most youth-associated problems, based on tactics that work, not rhetoric out of a book. She often is the only one in the room to stand by her viewpoint and tends to think the opposite from everyone else. Star of ITV’s “My Teen’s A Nightmare, I’m Moving Out” and author of “Help! My Teenager is an Alien – the everyday situation guide for parents”, Sarah has just teamed up with her daughter to write a novel to help girls with their body image issues, she has also written for The Guardian, The Huffington Post and the Daily Mail. Sarah also sits on the UK board of the Arbonne Charitable Foundation and is an ambassador for Girls Out Loud.