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Quarrelling Daughters

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 16 October 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

My daughters, aged 24 and 26, are worrying me lately as there is a distance growing between them. They no longer text each other and seem very unconcerned for the other's happiness. The problems started over one daughter's boyfriend, who can be quite unfriendly and opinionated, and who my elder daughter has taken an extreme dislike to. Her sister obviously wants him to be liked by the family and gets hurt when she is told 'I don't care about him!'. Other seemingly small differences of opinion occurred and these became blown up out of all proportion. Things worsened when the older sister moved away, whilst the younger is still at home with me, as I now feel very much in the middle.

They are very different characters, but have always got on, until now. They each talk to me and tell me they think their sister is at fault, but there are two sides to their arguments, and when I try and placate them I am accused of siding with the other. My efforts to calm the situation do not seem to work and each expects the other to change.

How can I make them see that they must sort this out before it gets even worse?

Patricia Marie says..

Unfortunately, not everything is within our control. Having two adult children who have chosen to feud, is undoubtedly worrying for you. However, it is important to separate your wants and needs from theirs. We all have dreams, hopes, and expectations for our children. A mother's wish is for her offspring to get on, and as much as you want to make things right for them, ultimately this is beyond your control. In fact, the more you try to intervene the more your daughters will probably rebel and turn against you.

What you can control however, is the level of distress this situation is causing you. Let them know how upset you are at their behaviour towards each other, and that you do not want to be drawn into their arguments. As adults they need to act responsibly and resolve the situation themselves before it develops into an irreparable state. Instead of acting as a mediator, which is clearly not working, take a step back, and, without your input, they may then realise just how over exaggerated their problems have become.

Often when siblings fall out, it is their immaturity and lack of appreciation for each other that escalates matters. Without taking sides, or being interested in the details of the argument, emphasise to your girls that life is about compromise. We all need to learn to accept each other's differences. Ask them how they feel life would be without their sibling, and in time they may see sense and move forward to a mutual resolution.

Continue to be the warm, caring, mother you clearly are to your daughters. Hopefully they will understand that whilst you may not always agree with them, or like their behaviour, you will always respect and love them unconditionally. I believe this will inspire them to follow your extremely valuable guidance.


Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 27 January 2014
Working as a governess over the past 20 years has allowed me to observe parents and how they choose to bring up their children.

Their approaches range from “I am too busy/tired” whereby the children somehow muddle through. Like the time my brain turned to mush watching endless hours of TV with three year-old Miss Luisa. But that’s what mum wanted.

Then there are the “helicopter mothers” micro-managing almost every second of their little darling’s lives. Six year-old Stefan was expected to spend all morning at school, picked up for violin, karate and swimming lessons while his peers lunched, back to school for the afternoon session, chauffeured again and ate dinner on the run to his evening classes. Each night he was either too hyper or a zombie at bed time and expected to repeat this schedule 5 days a week.

These scenarios are examples more about the what-NOT-to-do for sanity and your child’s development. Sadly my attempts to explain as much went unheeded.

Logistics, family dynamics, and whether you have the time and interest, all contribute to how your day pans out and who cares for your children. Having bucket loads of money to hire professional live-in help is not a guarantee for success.

And before I write myself out of a career, I’d like to add that playtime in this balance is fundamental too. It may sound like wasted time and too much freedom but take a moment to consider what children can learn when interacting with their peers in play.

The opportunity to interpret and understand how to not miss-read situations, helps a child begin to consider how to behave. To deal with bullies, to empathise, to have fun, to know when to be calm are all lessons learned in the playground.

If nothing else, the fresh air in young lungs cannot be overrated. Celebrate the bumps and scrapes. Use them to discuss how “next time” maybe a little thought and caution would be a good idea.

And join in. Well sometimes, if you are welcome. You might just discover your inner-child too.

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