Family farms involve a complex interaction between two worlds — the family and the business, and both these worlds are impacted when a new person arrives. This person can be the glue that keeps things together, or the dynamite that blows things apart.
We’re talking about what happens when a son or daughter-in-law marries into a family farm on this episode in the Mind Your Farm Business series.
“You’re bringing in someone new, who has fresh eyes and has a new perspective. They come with a different way of doing conflict, a different way of communicating, maybe different values you haven’t totally explored yet,” explains our guest, Elaine Froese, well-known farm family coach and co-author of the book “Farming’s In-Law Factor.”
“It’s really critical for families to understand there are two systems in place. There’s the farm business…but the other system that’s always connected is the family system.”
Froese suggests there are several common characteristics of families that succeed at integrating an in-law into their farm:
- Everybody has a voice and feels they can communicate openly.
- There’s love and respect between all family members.
- There’s acceptance of people’s ideas and expectations.
“It’s the ability to have clear expectations on roles and what expectations are for each family member,” she says.
As Elaine and Shaun note, “better communication” is an empty goal if there’s no plan for implementing it and following through.
They discuss how to stick to a plan when stuff hits the fan, the role of the son or daughter caught in the middle of a conflict, making the tough decision to leave the business to save the family, and more — we hope you enjoy this insight-filled conversation on the dynamics involved with welcoming a new family member to the farm:
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