Lisa Belkin’s Motherlode blog post sparked a lively discussion about problems that arise between siblings over their differences in parenting styles. With the holiday season in full swing, all of those expanded dinner tables and chaotic family get-togethers provide loads of opportunities for aggravated brothers and sisters to brawl over all kinds of parenting issues like discipline, helicoptering and permissiveness.
But while we might feel like reaching over the turkey and throttling our sib, it seems that silence prevails. One reader commented that “we just grin and bear it…we see no options.” Many others agreed: “I bite my tongue on those rare occasions (the holidays) when we’re forced to get together” and “I gave up on this one a long time ago.”
I don’t think ignoring the issues is the way to go; how will we ever break the cycle if we don’t at least address what’s bothering us? Sitting back and doing nothing won’t solve any problems. But neither will biting the offending sibling’s pinkie (which really did happen in Florida last weekend between two sisters in their 30s!). So where is the middle ground?
And why is it that we come off as this brash society that tells it like it is (thank you, Dr. Phil) yet when we’re faced with serious dilemmas that really hurt us, we opt to zip our lips? Maybe we’re so used to giving our opinions online that we’re starting to really lose the ability to air our differences live and in person?
Of course, parenting disagreements between family are much more complex than if they were just between two mom friends; your relatives are here to stay and breaking up is not an option. Plus you’ve got a long history with your brothers and sisters that carries over into adulthood and our parenting lives.
Please, share your story: what happened when you and your siblings fought over a parenting issue? What do you think you could do in the future to handle it better?