Authority and Responsibility in Families
Dr. Chafetz believes that, to achieve family happiness, all adults must understand the following axiom, or fundamental truth: The people who take the most RESPONSIBILITY in a given area must be granted the most AUTHORITY in that area.
Responsibility refers to doing the work, putting in one's own money, time, or effort, and generally "carrying the load" for a certain project, such as caring for an impaired relative.
Authority is the privilege to make decisions about the project at hand. The tool for implementing decisions is often money, so control of the money often indicates who holds authority.
When one person has much responsibility and little authority, there is always another person who has little responsibility yet much authority. This is a recipe for unhappiness! The person with much responsibility and little authority is certain to eventually feel exploited, unappreciated, and disrespected.
The solution is for the person with much responsibility and little authority to inform the person who has little responsibility yet much authority that the situation is unworkable, and that, if a better balance is not found, she will not be able to continue, and she will simply resign the high responsibility role. This is certain to get the attention of the other person, and open the door to meaningful negotiation.