Thursday, July 19, 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 don’t 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 Bonnie’s resentful payback, plus interest.

Annie is paying her way, but she doesn’t hold voting shares in your household. You decide how your resources are allocated, you decide which kid needs what, you decide what’s fair. If Annie isn’t 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 she’s 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 — because you will not stand for tension or hostility between the siblings.

If there’s 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
Deep-fried wonders at Plant City Strawberry Festival to be featured on Cooking Channel

Deep-fried wonders at Plant City Strawberry Festival to be featured on Cooking Channel

The strawberry-laden and deep-fried wonders of Plant City’s Florida Strawberry Festival will be featured on two episodes of the TV series Carnival Eats, the first on July 29.The Cooking Channel series features host Noah Cappe as he marvels at the "ga...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Tell Me About It: Family put off by another big wedding

Q: I’m engaged to a wonderful man, "Jim," and we’re planning our wedding. We just booked a gorgeous inn and I am going to wear a stunning full-length white dress. We’ll also be having a sit-down dinner with band and dancing for the reception.I’m in m...
Published: 07/18/18
First look (with video): Universal’s new high-tech fountain shows ends the night at the theme park

First look (with video): Universal’s new high-tech fountain shows ends the night at the theme park

Visitors to Universal Studios in Orlando on Monday night got to witness the premiere of the new high-tech, dancing-fountain, cinematic show to end the day in the park in what the show’s creator called "a kiss goodnight." It’s full of ima...
Published: 07/17/18

Tell Me About It: Stepmom expects gift will become an issue

Q: My husband’s daughter just announced she and her boyfriend are getting married, and we are very happy for them. They are planning a wedding that we consider over the top. The cost will likely exceed her annual salary.My husband has been blunt abou...
Published: 07/17/18

Tell Me About It: The grieving process differs for everyone

Q: My parents died in an accident a year and a half ago. I grieve for them every day and still find it difficult to talk about them without tears. I see a grief counselor and have been screened by my doctor for depression, and both said what I was fe...
Published: 07/16/18

Tell Me About It: Wife’s beefs with family are indefensible

Q: My wife occasionally picks fights with members of my family of origin, especially my sister. What am I supposed to do about that? The general guidance is that protecting my spouse from my family of origin is my responsibility, but it was my wife t...
Published: 07/15/18
Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus talks longevity, the road and picking the perfect opener

Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus talks longevity, the road and picking the perfect opener

There was a time, believe it or not, when Rascal Flatts was considered cutting-edge country. Okay, "cutting-edge" might be pushing it — the trio’s wholesome, harmony-laden style was never all that controversial. Still, when you survey the pop- and R&...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/18/18
8 things to do this weekend: Sam Smith, SharkCon, Extreme Mud Wars, deal at Chihuly

8 things to do this weekend: Sam Smith, SharkCon, Extreme Mud Wars, deal at Chihuly

Concert Sam Smith and Cam: On Friday, Sam Smith (Stay With Me) is coming to Tampa with opening act Cam, whose latest country single Diane is one of Nashville’s most rollicking of the past year. Smith is the headliner but both acts are worth ca...
Published: 07/13/18

Tell Me About It: Decision to adopt must be her own

Q: I’m a 45-year-old single woman who is financially secure and a self-described introvert. I am happy being single, have a decent job, own a home, and have created a good life for myself. I badly want to adopt or foster a child on my own and I have ...
Updated one month ago
Play encouraged at Florida Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo

Play encouraged at Florida Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo

ZEPHYRHILLS — Enticing kids to become avid page turners is part of the Pasco County’s "Libraries Rock" summer reading program. There’s always a fun element to bring them in, that this year comes with a musical theme.For Blake Pole, 9, an afternoon tr...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/16/18