Are you the unappreciated black sheep in your family? Have you wished you could redeem your reputation and at the same time shift your own perception of yourself?
Consider taking on the role of family caregiver for an elderly parent, a niece or nephew, or even having a baby of your own.
One AARP commentator suggests that family caregiving may be a way for a child to recover from a negative image in the eyes of his or her family. In his article “How a Black Sheep Can Become a White Knight,” clinical psychologist Barry J. Jacobs describes how a child on the “outs” with her family made inroads by caregiving for her parent.
Jacobs suggests that caregiving may be the perfect time for caregivers to “seek to change their family reputations.” He describes, for example, a workaholic who cares for his disabled wife as well as a one-time rebellious teen who reconnects with her parents through caregiving.
Jacobs gives three tips for you, if you want to try to recover your image or reputation within your family:
Consistency is the key. Jacobs suggests that building dependability is important because family members will be on guard for errors, if you have not appeared reliable in the past.
Say you’re sorry and make amends. Even if you previously apologized for wrongs done, when you are taking care of a family member, your words may be better received and making amends, means not just saying you are sorry, but taking full responsibility, stating what you learned and showing how you are making it right.
Provide genuine loving care. Jacobs says that the primary purpose of taking care of someone you love is to reflect your values and not to gain recognition. You may need support here because caregiving is often a thankless role. Look for caregiver support groups in our area. Or contact us for referrals.