Q: My mum is in her late 80s and needs assisted living care, but her assets are insufficient to cover the cost. My older sister and I are tightening our belts to help out. Our other younger sister and her husband say they cannot contribute due to lack of financial resources, but they have good jobs and healthy incomes. They buy expensive cars and go on extravagant annual holidays, which they have sometimes invited us to join. Meanwhile, we are helping out willingly but at great sacrifice. It is hard not to feel resentful. What should we do?

Focus on the Family Malaysia: Much depends upon the relational dynamics within your family. Are you on good terms with the sister who is not contributing to your mother’s care? Since she has invited you to go on their holidays, that sounds fairly positive. If so, you need to start talking about this.

It would probably be a good idea to bring all three sisters together for an honest conversation. Tell your younger sister what you are thinking and feeling and solicit her honest feedback.

If you need help covering the cost of your mother’s care, come right out and say so. It is best if all of you can sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk face to face. Only then will you be able to start cooperating as a team.

However, if the relationship is not conducive to this kind of healthy dialogue, you may have no choice except to resign yourself to the situation as it is.

You cannot control your sibling or tell her what to do, even when you think it is the right thing. You can only try to set a good example by doing what you believe to be right.

If your sister would rather have new cars and extravagant holidays, that is her choice. She is missing out on an important life experience in terms of accepting responsibility and honouring your mother, but there probably is not much you can do to convince her of that. She will have to find out for herself.

Q: How can I deal with my shortcomings as a parent? I love my family dearly and do my best but I feel like I have made a lot of mistakes with my children.

Focus on the Family Malaysia: Parenting has a way of sometimes highlighting our imperfections. Thankfully, being a good parent does not mean having to be a perfect parent. True success in parenting is about how you learn from and respond to the mistakes you inevitably will make.

When imperfection happens, ask yourself four key questions:

1. What happened – from my perspective and my child’s?

2. What can I learn from what happened?

3. What can I do differently next time?

4. What is my next move to reconnect with my child and move forward?

By working through these questions in your parenting situations, you can develop more empathy and understanding for other parents, including your own.

Along the way, there will be plenty of opportunities to continue learning grace, forgiveness, humility, love and patience through your role as an imperfect dad or mum.

Even though family members can drive each other nuts sometimes, as a family you can come to understand one another at a deeper level and foster genuine empathy and connection within your home.

You can become a better parent by taking advantage of specific parenting tools such as our organisation’s “7 Traits of Effective Parenting” assessment.

Find out where your strengths lie and maximise those. Learn what your weaknesses are and take steps to overcome or improve, and as should be the case in every area of life, be ready to apologise and repair when needed.