Estranged Sibling Relationship

Anonymous wants your opinion. “My adult son and daughter do not have the warm cozy relationship they had…

Anonymous wants your opinion. “My adult son and daughter do not have the warm cozy relationship they had as children…

I would say mostly because my son is pretty judgmental as is his wife. And she isn’t real keen on being with my daughter. It makes family time a bit strained, yet I do want them to maintain a relationship.

Our daughter and son-in-law will be visiting from quite a distance away and I want to include our son and daughter-in-law who live closer to us in some of the activities, however do not want to spoil my daughter’s well-deserved vacation.

I am disturbed to see the distance between them as they were fairly close growing up. I know they are responsible for their relationship however I wonder do I have a role in this?”

  1. I suggest speaking to your daughter first. Tell her how you feel and ask her if she is ok with including your son and daughter in law on the early part of her trip. If she is, speak with your son, tell him how you feel. If the get together goes well, you will have time to do a second one before your daughter leaves. Good luck. 🥰

  2. I think when our children are adults, we have to allow them to make their own way. As parents we always want our children to be close but perhaps there are circumstances we parents are unaware of. Give them time…. stay out of it. Love them each for who they are and just pray they reconnect one day. And above all – don’t take sides!!

    1. Sometimes the parents unintentionally seed the estrangement while raising their kids. That’s a really hard one to overcome.

  3. Ask your daughter how she feels about having dinner with them one night and see how that goes then maybe you can add another dinner before she leaves. Speak to your son beforehand and let him know you want them to get along so please tone it down with the judgement calls.

    1. I like this one- talk to son ahead of time- I only wish we would all comunicate- no judgement problems but no one ever pick up phone. Right now we are going through difficult time. It would be wonderful to have them call and ask how we are. They just don’t. I have reach out but to no avail.

  4. I have an estranged family. Here is one circumstance….
    I want you to ask yourself, did you enable one of your children? Or put favor towards one over the other? If so, that does create discourse between siblings. And you should apologize to the other one that you did this. If not, then maybe it’s just their personalities and they will have to work that out for themselves

    1. I did this. My girls were best friends growing up and even after they married. Unknowingly I enabled the oldest because she got addicted. I didn’t know any better until later and I did stop but it was too late. It’s the whole prodigal son story. My heart is broken they don’t have a relationship and I feel all of the guilt and hurt that I caused this. I have had to just put it in God’s hands and realize it may never be better.

  5. There is an ebb and flow in all sibling relationships. Communication is key here. Don’t force them to spend time together. Plan one welcoming family dinner, see how all parties respond, go from there. I never got along with my siblings until I was in my middle thirties, now we are great friends. Time has a way of making you realize how important they really are.

  6. sometimes the wife of the son is very jealous of the relationship between her husband and his sister. It is sad but the son has to live with his wife not his sister so the chasm grows bigger every years. I feel very badly for my daughter an son because they were close for 35 years and there is no way to repair their relationship as long as he is married to his wife ( I hope it lasts forever) My daughter is the loser and my heart breaks for her.

  7. Don’t be too quick to blame the wife as the cause or adding to the strain in the relationship unless you know this for fact. I encourage my husband to reach out to his siblings and he refuses. He feels his life is less complicated without them. I know his mother thinks I have contributed to this, understandably she doesn’t want to think her kids don’t like one another so I am the scapegoat.

  8. What is the reason for the discourse? In our family it is politics and religion.
    We taboo those subjects when together, we agree that we always will disagree and no longer discuss these issues.
    There is still the strain of the disagreements and it causes us not to together as much but what else can you do.

  9. Not all my children get along as well as I wish they would. If we are having a family get together, we invite them all. If they can’t get along (after all, they are all adults) for a few hours they can stay home. That may sound harsh but in life we have to deal with people we don’t get along with. My sister in law hasn’t spoken to me for over a year, but she’s always invited. I don’t force my kids to talk to each other if they don’t want to. This has worked for us for 20 years with no arguments at any family get togethers.

    1. I feel exactly the same way you do. I have 3 kids that were all born within 4 yrs. The third child constantly struggles to not be left our with the other 2. They all have their faults, so to me they either try and stay civil or stay home. I brought them up to be caring of eachother and if as adults they have a problem with eachother, that’s not my problem. I did my job and now I feel it’s up to them.

  10. You could say to both kids something to the effect: I love both of you. I am inviting both of you. I hope you will both come. While here, I ask that you leave your disagreements at the door. We don’t know how much time we will have with each other.

    1. I agree with this one. I just had this conversation with my daughter, and have had similar ones over the years. Now that they have children of their own, I think they see their relationship differently. Leave politics, lifestyles, judgments at the door. There are so many other great things to talk about.

  11. My brother and I were close growing up and have grown apart as adults. It breaks my parents hearts but it is easier to just skip it as he is so hateful to me and my family. We are successful members of society and have built a business which I think he is somewhat jealous of but that is his problem. I have tried to mend fences and seek out answers to what I have done over the years to make him dislike me. He will not even acknowledge me so I just chalk it up to this being his problem. That being said I know our relationship will someday be healed. It just may not be this side of heaven…

    1. I am the same with my sister lately. I have put up with her hurtful comments and demeaning attitude for years. I have been grieving for the last month about this. It has broken me but at 61 years of age I cannot take it anymore. I don’t think she even understands but enough is enough. It sure makes it difficult at family time.

  12. You need to set ground rules now, pre-visit. It is your home, you can set those rules. Lovingly for all parties. Ask for their input as well, pre-visit. Do not accuse anyone, just have some rules of the house. Ask how someone you admire would handle this. Ask what would my parents/grandparents have done, or someone you admire in the world. Diplomacy is key. Set a cup on the table – anyone who crosses “the line into argument/nastiness” make a lighthearted joke and ……. they have to put $ in the pot for a last night dinner.

  13. Throw a BBQ with a few family and friends they both would enjoy seeing. Keep things casual. They can easily avoid each other, but you can enjoy having them together. Do they have kids? Plan a baking afternoon that’s about the kids and you. Doing something together but that’s not about them could ease things over.

  14. Yes leave the “baggage at the back door” talk is long over due. Do not think it is your fault, they are now adults, and must work this out for themselves. Sure you can ask their feelings on their sibling but don’t referee. Very competitive siblings do go through jealousy periods. Also sometimes adult siblings feel left out of each others lives once they are “replaced” with a spouse. A BBQ with family and friends would be a good.

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