Sunday, September 23, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Tensions mount between adult sisters

Our daughter "Annie" has moved back home at age 33 to save some money while doing postdoc work and teaching college courses. She contributes to household expenses. Our daughter "Bonnie" has moved back home at 29 after a sudden breakup, bringing our 15-month-old grandchild with her. Bonnie works but does not earn much money, and we are encouraging her to save it.

Annie is resentful that Bonnie does not pay "rent." Bonnie feels judged and looked down on by her sister. My husband and I are often caught in the middle.

One or both will probably move out within the next year. Until then, how do we cope?

Boomeranged

A: Annie is being shortsighted. Good families donít take care of everything equally; instead they commit equally to taking care of needs. I use the term "shortsighted" because neither you nor Annie nor Bonnie knows what is in store for everyone, and the pricklier she gets with Bonnie now, the more Annie opens herself to Bonnieís resentful payback, plus interest.

Annie is paying her way, but she doesnít hold voting shares in your household. You decide how your resources are allocated, you decide which kid needs what, you decide whatís fair. If Annie isnít happy to be mooching on less favorable terms than her sister is, then she needs to either take that up with you or move out.

So, time to sit down with Annie. State your policy clearly: Different kids, different needs, same commitment to meeting needs, with the understanding that life is long and bean-counting serves nobody. If sheís not willing to trust that your home is a supportive one and that things will even out in the end, then she can take her complaints to you, or forever hold her peace ó because you will not stand for tension or hostility between the siblings.

If thereís old baggage here and either tries to hand it back to you by way of explanation for the current rift, then decline to accept it. Say you will think carefully about your role in creating this dynamic -- toward moving forward, however. Not back.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Bean-counting brother needs a lesson in kindness

Q: My sister owns a few apartment buildings and my mother lives there rent-free. My mother plans to give my sister slightly more in her will. Our brother is angry about this, he wants my sister to just charge our mother rent. My sister thinks our mom...
Published: 09/21/18
Mark your calendar for these Halloween events

Mark your calendar for these Halloween events

13 Ugly Men Halloween PartyThese "ugly" men sure know how to party with three floors offering new tricks and treats, DJ dancing and a light show making the 10th annual Halloween party a "Party with a Purpose." Benefits Beat NB. 8 p.m. Oct. 26. Yborís...
Published: 09/19/18

Tell Me About It: Frequently displaced wife has had enough moves

Q: I have been married to my second husband for 24 years. We have a 16-year-old and I have two adult children.I have moved seven times in 17 years for his job. He didnít have to quit and take another job, but they were opportunities for him to climb ...
Published: 09/19/18
Where to find kid-friendly, not-so-scary Halloween fun

Where to find kid-friendly, not-so-scary Halloween fun

Spare the gore and take the kids to these family-friendly Halloween parties planned at theme parks and attractions in the coming weeks. Creatures of the Night at ZooTampa The weekend nighttime Halloween party at ZooTampa at Lowry Park returns with...
Published: 09/18/18

Tell Me About It: Busy couple seeks ways to downsize for the future

Q: Over a decade, my salary has tripled (Iím quite well-paid now), my work hours and responsibilities have increased, and ó because Iím so frequently tired or short on time ó my "outsourcing" has increased, too. Think: frequent takeout, a dog-walker,...
Published: 09/18/18

Tell Me About It: Parents want bully brother to be his best man

Q: Iím getting married. Thatís awesome. However, my parents want me to ask my brother to be my best man. The idea of letting my brother, whoís spent his whole life being the biggest jerk he can manage, stand up and give a speech about me makes me wan...
Published: 09/17/18

Tell Me About It: Mom is frustrated by teenís dislike of academics

Q: I have a 15-year-old son who is obviously bright but hates school. My husband and I canít helicopter him to success because (a) we donít want to be helicopter parents, and (b) he has developed ninja-like skills when it comes to evading any attempt...
Updated one month ago

Tell Me About It: In search of ways to stop the family over-talker

Q: During extended family get-togethers with my side of the family, there is one person who does 95 percent of the talking. When I ask someone else in the room a question about their lives, this person always jumps in and takes over the conversation ...
Updated one month ago
Busch Gardens reveals plans for Tigris, Florida's tallest launch roller coaster

Busch Gardens reveals plans for Tigris, Florida's tallest launch roller coaster

Busch Gardens will open Florida’s tallest launch coaster in spring 2019, company officials announced Wednesday. The triple-launch, tiger-themed roller coaster called Tigris will hurl riders 150 feet into the sky, turn them upside down and swirl...
Published: 09/12/18

Tell Me About It:

Mom-to-be decides who will join her in deliveryQ: I am six months pregnant with my first child. Iíve been fixated a bit on who to have in the delivery room with me, I think because itís one of the few elements I can control in this pregnancy. Should ...
Updated one month ago