Dear Readers – There’s nothing better for this columnist to find in my inbox of your emails, than strong debate.
It means that many are engaged with the column – some of you reacting to a topic positively, others negatively.
I welcome all those opinions. And I invite more of you to join me in this absorbing daily look into what matters to people in their relationships.
Letter-writers are always kept anonymous so you’re free to add your own relationship topic, whether of concern, confusion, or contentment.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose siblings are so envious of her affluence, that she feels like avoiding them (October 17):
Reader #1 – “My husband’s the owner of a successful business, my siblings are not as financially well off as we are. I read some arrogance in the letter-writer’s comments. Her siblings aren’t resentful, but it’s hard for them to watch their sister do things that they financially cannot.
“My children had luxuries that my nieces/nephews did not, and sometimes comments were made about our charmed life.
We treat our families to sporting events, dinners, gifts. I’ve paid for things no one knows about. When/if our parents need help with expenses, we’ll be there for them.
“Instead of complaining, she should count her many blessings, as do I.”
Reader #2 – “My uncle and aunt were/are very successful and wealthier than the others.
“When we get together, we’re all the same. They’re never pressured to pay more. All my cousins were treated equally.
“What’s wrong with the letter-writer calling a spade a spade?
The behaviour exhibited by her siblings is unacceptable. Some people are jerks. If these were friends, how long would they remain friends?
I think that she should voice her concerns. This is destructive behaviour and not normal.”
Reader #3 – “I agree that paying a bit extra for taking care of parents may be something she could offer but it shouldn’t be an expectation.
“It may even add to the resentment if it comes across as noblesse oblige from a wealthier sibling.
“But the bigger issue seems to be the sniping. In our judgmental culture people feel it’s okay to give unsolicited advice to parents, usually a veiled criticism.
“Telling someone they spoil their kids is offensive. Why should this woman want to open her house to relatives who insult and patronize her?
“Maybe telling her to have a frank discussion with her siblings about manners may be in order.”
Reader #4 – “It’s the responsibility of parents to be financially secure so they don't sponge off their children.
“It’s also their duty to give their children the best chance for success. We should all be kind and helpful, of course, but we parents owe our children, not the other way around!”
Reader #5 – “Your response covered all the dynamics.
Why wouldn't this couple pitch in more?! If they have the means and choose not to, it comes across as miserly.
“Pay more at the restaurant or for the parents’ eventual home care needs! Home care would be a tax write-off and skip the meals out.
“Have the family in if the situation allows for it. As you suggest it could be the gathering point. What they would spend as their “share” to eat a meal out would buy groceries for such meals.
“Share the wealth without resentment or expectations and be grateful for having family.
“This is coming from me as the successful sibling in my family.”
I’m 37, married with two children. We saw my parents once monthly before the pandemic. Neither were warm-and-fuzzy types (my dad was more approachable).
They live in a small town near my eldest brother’s family. They’re closest with his kids, in their 20s, who often socialize with their friends.
Because of increased COVID-19 infection rates, my parents won’t visit with us at all. I understood that during lockdown, but I’m hurt that they don’t seem to care.
How do I convince them that we’re being more careful than those young adults and that they’re preference is unfair?
It’s difficult for you to accept, but equally difficult for your parents to feel safe whatever they do.
Yes, some of the increasing cases came from restless young adults fed up from restrictions. But travel, exposure to school-age youngsters and in-person visits from you are also worrying.
Increase your online contact and have the kids join in.
Tip of the day:
Siblings who can rise above any envy over differing incomes/lifestyles, benefit from mutual emotional support.