Kids go through many phases as they grow up and as a parent, you were there every step of the way. Whether your kids were tantrum-throwing toddlers who hit each other or temperamental teens, you probably had tactics for controlling their behavior.
In fact, you probably convinced yourself that they would outgrow their tumultuous years. Unfortunately, not all siblings get along, even after they become adults. If you periodically find yourself between warring sons and daughters, you may want to consider what experts recommend for parenting adult children.
How To Help Your Children Avoid a Fight
Disagreements happen but when your adult kids argue frequently, it may be time to take action. The first step in helping your adult children avoid fighting is to focus on each one individually. It’s important to remember that each child brings different experiences and perspectives to the table.
Develop a Separate Relationship With Each Child
Even though your children are all grown up, they still need to know that they matter to you and that they matter equally. Competition between kids is often the root of conflicts, says Thomas Gagliano, a relationship expert and author of “The Problem Was Me.” It’s no different from when they were young. “You have to give your kids time and show them that they are important to you,” explains Gagliano.
Joshua Coleman, a psychologist and author of “When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don’t Get Along,” says it’s helpful to acknowledge that your adult kids are different from each other and to establish individual relationships with them. If your child thinks that you like them less than their siblings, it’s best to discuss their feelings rather than dismiss them. “You’re better off coming from a place of empathy and trying to understand why your kid feels this way than just saying it’s not true,” advises Coleman.
And although you may not want to avoid family activities entirely, if your adult kids argue, this may be a good time to go out with them individually. Avoid family dinners as an interim measure, recommends Elizabeth Fishel, co-author of “Getting to 30: A Parent’s Guide to the Twenty-Something Years.”
Emphasize the Importance of Strong Relationships
To reduce battles and bickering among your adult kids, it’s important to send a strong message about the benefits of good relationships between siblings, says Fishel. One way to do this is to talk about your own siblings and how your battles were resolved.
Gagliano recommends telling a story about how your own brother angered you or about the conflicts your mother and your aunt faced. “Tell your kids about how these situations can make you not want a relationship with your siblings, but that eventually people realize that they want to be close to their families,” says Gagliano. “It’s important to convey that good relationships are valuable and [that you have] the confidence that your kids can work out their issues,” adds Fishel.
Be Transparent About Financial Issues
Some of the most contentious fights between siblings occur because one sibling feels that the other is receiving more money from their parents.
What makes it worse is when the parents keep it a secret, explains Fishel. “It’s much better to openly explain that one kid is going through a bad patch or needs money for something specific and then explain that when the other needs help you’ll be there for them, too,” she adds. Coleman advises parents to be mindful that they’re giving equal financial help to their children and to be as conscientious and open as possible about money.
Read more: How to Stop Giving Money to Grown Children
What To Do If a Fight Starts Between Your Children
Gagliano suggests that parents monitor the argument between their adult offspring to see if they can come to a resolution without parental involvement. If there’s no apparent resolution, and you decide that an intervention is required, there are ways to handle the disagreement in order to arrive at a more peaceful outcome for your family.
Don’t Try To Control the Situation When Your Adult Kids Argue
Telling your kids that they have to stop bickering and get over their argument invalidates their feelings, says Gagliano. He suggests trying to remain nonjudgmental and letting them work out their differences. “You can’t guilt your kids into stopping a fight or into seeing you or their siblings more often,” says Coleman. “Guilt backfires and makes your adult kids more withdrawn.”
Acknowledge That You Can’t Stop the Fight
“You can’t fix your kids’ issues with each other, they have to do it themselves now that they are adults,” explains Gagliano. Parents, particularly mothers, often feel as though they are bad parents if their kids don’t get along as adults, says Coleman. “You just have to accept the limitations of your own power,” he says. “Don’t feel guilty about something you can’t control. Just accept it and let it go.”
Listen, but Don’t Pick a Side When Your Adult Kids Argue
Gagliano advises that parents should never agree with one kid or the other, but he does think that parents should listen to their children’s complaints. “Ask each individually how they are doing and about what’s going on,” he says. “You can’t fix the problem yourself, but you can validate their feelings and say you’re sorry if they are hurt or angry.”
Gagliano recommends that you should never excuse your kids to each other or defend their siblings because that can add to the tension. “You can empathize about a situation but never ally yourself with one child or another unless one of them is doing something truly terrible to the other,” says Coleman.
Avoid Being the Go-Between When Adult Kids Argue
Stepping between your fighting kids could make them turn on you. If you’re not able to be entirely objective and even-handed when talking to your kids about their issues, then you could end up with each of them assuming you’ve picked a side, warns Gagliano. “Acting as a go-between doesn’t work,” says Coleman. “In fact, your kids will likely tell their siblings what you’ve said to each of them and you could end up with all of them angry with you.”
Consider Whether You’re Contributing To the Problem
Complaints about favoritism are common in many families and can be the underlying issue when adult siblings fight. “If you are overtly or subtly favoring one child over the other, you could be contributing to their not getting along,” explains Coleman. “You can’t control your adult kids but you can control your own behavior.”
Gagliano says his mother labeled him and his brothers as the “smart one,” the “creative one” and the “good-looking one.” The resentment caused by those labels continues to plague their adult relationships. “Comparison is the death knell of sibling harmony,” says Fishel. “It’s never too late to stop comparing your kids and to appreciate each child for who they are.”
Ask for a Favor
Although you can’t force your children to get along, you can ask them to be polite to each other once or twice a year so that you can see your family all together. “This works particularly well if you have grandkids because it’s natural to want to see them together,” says Coleman. “Most parents will be willing to be polite for the sake of their children and their nieces and nephews,” adds Coleman.
Lobby for a Compromise
If your adult kids argue over something relatively simple such as restaurant choices or where to celebrate holidays, this might be one time that you can weigh in. Try to resolve the issue with a logical compromise, advises Fishel. Make sure that you’re being fair to all your children when you offer your solution.
Often, the best approach when it comes to sibling fights is just waiting it out. As your kids mature and time passes, there’s likely to be a lessening of animosity between them, says Fishel. Just remember that most of the time it’s best for parents to stay out of an argument because they can just add fuel to the fire, suggests Fishel.
In the meantime, bear in mind that your days as a parent are never really over. How you handle parenting your adult kids can ease tension between the siblings. “United siblings are so much stronger than divided siblings,” remarks Fishel. “Tell your kids that even if they are bickering about minor things, it’s important to know they can lean on each other through emotional heartbreak or other frustrations. This becomes even more important later in life.”
We want to hear from other parents. Have you had the heart-splitting experience of your adult children not getting along? Did you try the strategies above or do you have any other suggestions for when adult kids argue? Share your story in the comments and maybe your story will help another parent going through a similar situation.
Read more: 13 Grown-Up Things Kids Should Know
Marilyn D your family sounds like mine. My two daughters 53 and 55 have always fought. You’d think at their ages they’d grow up. Before my husband passed away we always hosted every event at our house. There was always tension and I didn’t get to enjoy my family.
Now I have had to downsize and others have to plan occasions. Neither want to invite the other. This makes for some hurt feelings.
I don’t want to get involved so sometimes I just stay home. The first Christmas after my husband passed was spent alone. I was heartbroken that they failed to see my need.
Now it’s Mother’s Day and one has asked me to join her family; when the other asked my plans she got upset with me and hasn’t spoken to me in several days. 😢💔
Depending on the situation, it could be the parents to blame and making it worse.
While at a weekend away, my sibling instigated going off on me how he was angry my spouse didn’t come say hello to our mom when we first arrived. He did this in front of the kids and when I said ‘stop’ he wouldn’t stop, he kept going on his tantrum rant.
My father told him to stop and he wouldn’t until he was done with what he wanted to say.
Next morning, we were meeting for breakfast. I got a large table inside the restaurant to accommodate all. My mother was annoyed at me it was inside when she told me in text on the patio. I said I misread the text and apologized.
I have one child, my sibling has two- all of them got a table on the patio and didn’t even say for us to join, including my child. I tried to have the waiter add seats for the 3 of us on the patio & my family didn’t even look at me so I abandoned that.
My mother came over and said her and my father were sitting with my sibling since they see is more.
After the weekend my parents didn’t bring it up with me so I setup time to speak to them, my mom was very cold about it. I met at a time that worked for them.
my parents were so focused that my spouse didn’t say hello right away that they felt the ‘rivalry’ was on both sides. They admitted my sibling is very dismissive and mean to me and my family, but got mad at me that I didn’t just let it go.
This has been a pattern, this wasn’t the first time, happened so many times. How many times am I supposed to show-up and have me and my family, especially my child treated like that? I had let it go in the past and just keeps happening, sometimes worse. My sibling doesn’t even acknowledge my child exists (doesn’t say goodbye, doesn’t invite to join his children).
I accept my siblings apology immediately but there are no actions to follow that it’s genuine so I distanced myself and my parents get on me for being the reason our family is torn. They keep saying they don’t want to get in the middle while also saying it’s on both of us yet it’s very one-sided.
It’s bad parenting. My parents could nip it in the bud if they empathized with me and told my sibling immediately that behavior is unacceptable. Seems they are scared of my sibling that is narcissistic . I’m outnumbered and feel either me and my family are a doormat or I can’t participate with my sibling.
Oh my, hearing all this breaks my heart… for me and all the parents.
My 5 adult married children (30’s and 40’s) managed to get together for family events. Even last year, they through together a 70th Birthday party for their dad, who survived a stroke the year before.
By all appearances, we seem like a close family of 19 people.
People comment on how blessed we are. Little do they know the bickering we endure.
This past weekend, our annual trip, ended with a physical altercation between 2 SIL’S and 4 daughters. (My only son chose to skip this gathering because of the tension)
Now I read all these stories, and feel not so alone.
I’m not picking sides. My heart hurts for my 9 grand sweeties. I love to see them all together. I brought special T shirts for them to wear for a picture.
They never made it out of the bag.
One daughter got a new puppy , and wanted to bring it. The non- dog others didn’t like it. She offered to keep it in her room, since it’s a puppy. Taking it or for frequent walks.
This is what started the scuffle, but from what we think, it wasn’t about the dog. It was more underlying issues. There wasn’t a noise at all from little puppy.
You wouldn’t know it was there.
So now one daughter and her husband filed a PFA against the others husband.
And here we are. Easter…. a blessed holiday and I’m looking at no one coming over. I want to just go away. My husband and I.
I see tears in his eyes.
Then I think. ” If only I had just one child, not 5″
I have 2 grown daughters, one is 27 from a previous marriage and lives in California for the last 10 years with her transgender husband Asher. She was not in my life until recently when we reconnected about 6 months ago. My other daughter lives with me but is away at college now. I raised her after her mother and I divorced in 2006 when she was 4 years old. The two daughters had not even met until they were 12 and 20. The only contact that had after that meeting was through my ex wife of my youngest daughter. She has always tried to have them in contact with each other. More recently my oldest daughter came to stay with me the month of November and for Thanksgiving. But let me backtrack to July of 2022 when my oldest daughter came in to visit and celebrate her birthday with my mother who have the same birthdays of July 5th. My youngest daughter and I gave my oldest a 1965 VW Bug for her birthday. It was a car that I had actually bought in 2017 for my youngest daughter and it is titled in her name. Fast forward to November when my oldest came in to visit. That is when all the strife between them began. They got into an argument over a couple of dogs that we rescued and were looking for a good home for them. My oldest decided that she was going to take them and I said ok, not knowing that my youngest had plans for them too. THis cause so many problems that we did not even eat Thanksgiving Dinner together because my oldest was dead set against my youngest daughter and how she reacted about the dogs. When my youngest came in from college and tried to apologize my oldest was not having it and would not let my youngest even talk. So, that did not go well. Since that day, my oldest has returned home and is making plans to come get the VW Bug but now my youngest who actually owns it does not want to sign it over to her because of how she has shun her on social media and all communication cut off. I hate to say this but I feel like my oldest daughter is actually jealous of my youngest daughter. she feels like she should have all that my youngest has but was not in my life because of her mother taking her out of my life. Anyway, I am trying to stay neutral but I am the one who has to tell the oldest that the youngest will not give her the car now that we presented to her on her birthday. Any advice would be greatly appreciated if anyone out that has had this same or similar problem with their kids. Thanks for ready and giving me the opportunity to tell my story.
I have a 21-year-old daughter and a 19 year old son. We also have cousins to them very close in their age. My daughter wants nothing more than to hang out with her brother, but he feels like she invades on his group of friends Which includes the cousins. I feel it is a little selfish of him, but at the same time I understand that he wants his own identity. It breaks my heart because she feels so left out by him. He barely returns her texts or calls and is just kind of rude to her when they are in a group of people. I keep telling myself he is just a 19-year-old boy and is lacking empathy right now because of his age. I hope and pray that someday they become close again because it absolutely breaks my heart when she cries and says I don’t know why he hates me. He tells me that he loves her but just finds her annoying. She is definitely strong-willed and Likes to be the life of the party and that’s the excuse that he gives me for finding her annoying. After reading everybody else’s posts, it seems trivial because they live pretty normal lives but it still breaks my heart that they don’t get along.
I have two daughters, now 47 and 45 who are as different as night and day. They’ve always argued and had physical fights when they were younger. When they were in school, the most important thing I tried to drill into their heads was to do well in school. Read, do your homework, work as hard as you can so you can get into a college and start a career of their own, because when the youngest was 3, my husband left and had nothing to do with them including never paying a dime in child support. It was a constant financial struggle and I supported them through their younger years as a bartender. Then I met a met a man who I was with for 15 years, the girls were 8 and 6. They were 23 and 20 when we broke up. My oldest daughter worked hard in school, did what she was supposed to do, graduated went on to college and had a great job as a neonatal respiratory therapist, eventually married her college sweetheart who is now a doctor. She has 5 kids and of course is a stay at home mom.
My youngest is the exact opposite. Refused to do her homework, never read a book, and had barely passing grades. The fights I had with her to do her homework, the visits to school to talk to her teachers. I was terrified they would wind up like me having kids and having to depend on someone financially. The only thing I wanted for them was to do well enough with their studies, have a great careers and be self sufficient without having to depend on anyone. I was strict because I was raising them alone(my boyfriend was not involved in how I raised them. He did of course help out financially.) I would tell her if she failed a major subject on her report cards, she had to stay in till the next report card. If she still didn’t raise her grades, she stayed in till the next. She was stubborn, and didn’t care.
After she graduated she did not go to college. She spent all her graduation money going down the shore for senior week, so she had no money to pay for her materials she needed to buy for hairdressing school. My bf refused to give her the money because he was so mad that she blew it all on partying. And that pretty much sums up the rest of her life.
She has never listened to any advice her sister and I gave her. She always did what she wanted then go to her sister to borrow money. About 8 years later she enrolled in hairdressing school and cuts men’s hair til this day. But she always runs out of money, asks her sister to ask her husband if she can borrow a couple hundred to get her through and she always gave it to her. And the younger one continued to make bad choices with her money. She would use that money to buy designer clothes and she actually bought a Mercedes, saying she got a deal and her payments are the same as her old car, which is false.
Now my younger daughter is going through horrible surgical menopause and endo issues, so her moods are awful. We don’t know what to do to help her. Then Covid happened, politics got in the way and they are on opposites of that. She needs money to help with the rent but my oldest daughter is sick to her stomach having to ask husband again, for more money for her sister who drives a Mercedes’ and wears expensive clothes. It’s been going on for years and she just can’t bring herself around to ask him again. So she didn’t, and she feels sick about being put in that position again. Now the fighting has gotten so bad, I’m literally on anti anxiety meds. I love both my of my daughters, the youngest one is the sweetest person you’ll ever meet, give you the shirt off her back, my older one is kind and generous, but the youngest just makes one bad decision after another saying she knows what she’s doing. I don’t know what to do. I need help
PS I have since remarried when I was 45 and now we are both on SS, so I can’t help her financially.
Maryellen, your older daughter does not have to feel bad about not helping (enabling) her younger sister financially. Your younger one cannot expect anyone to supplement her income especially when she is a poor money manager. You as a mother know what is right – if your older daughter wants to give her sister a gift from time to time that’s her prerogative but by no means does she owe it to her. Your older daughter may have more because she worked harder or maybe it is by chance but either way it is hers to do with what she deems is right. As their mother, don’t be anxious about it. Be clear in your own mind about what is right and live by your own convictions unapologetically. I would urge you to stop telling yourself (and others) that your oldest has more because she worked for it and deserves it. It just entrenches the story that your younger one slacked off in school many many years ago. Your youngest may have been destined to have less, but that never entitles her to what others have been given.
I have 2 adult girls living at home. My retired husband and I are living in our 4 level house that we have owned for 30 years. Me and my husband live up stairs, separated by the kitchen, foyer and dining room. My eldest daughter and her 7 year old son has been living downstairs for the past 6 years. Her way of helps with pmts is buying most of the food, shopping for us decorating and cleaning the house, and many other things. She wants to be here to helps as we grow old. Unfortunately my youngest daughter was caught up in drug addiction, yes I know she has stolen from us, had undesirable friends live here, been to a few rehabilitation centers, was fired for stealing from her her job and now is in some legal trouble. Now has difficulty finding a decent paying job place to stay, pmt or getting a loan. She really regrets whatever she did to anyone, really wants to get better ❤️🩹.She recently got kick out of where she was living, so yes I told her she could come here. Even though her dad now sleeps on the couch and we made room for all his things in my room and closet. Well, because my eldest daughter buys most most of the food she will not allow her to eat any of it. I myself never know what I should eat around here. Sure she buys things especially for her son , what mother wouldn’t. We all know that food, paper, cleaning products, etc. are not cheap these days. My youngest does not pay for most of these, she now uses our car cause she lost her own. I know she is having a difficult time. I even fear for her life at times. I don’t know to help, she almost doesn’t want my help(she says I don’t understand). There is a a lot of anger between the both, and the eldest claims we are letting the youngest take advantage of us, which is probably true, but I love each of my kids. After their argument with foul language and physical fight the other day does not show my grandson how to solve problems. I just need to talk to someone and ask what they think should be done.
So last year my daughter passed away. Age 20. She was my only daughter. I have 4 boys. All living together currently. 27,26,18 & 11.
My daughter use to keep her brothers tied together. We are a open minded family and I have devoted my life teaching morality , unity and love. Even then before my daughter passed away my second son didn’t get along well with his younger sibling who is now 18. He thinks I’m spoiling him and stuff. Long story like many of the comments really similar, after the death of my princess 20 last April, I started to feel scared to loose anyone and felt that everyone is precious life is short. So my eldest son is quite untidy and I clean his room now abd then, the 3rd one who is 18 also messy I clean his room too, coz his got Asthma, and it’s my house so I like it to be decent. However, my second son who is the tidiest of all, likes to stay organised, in bathroom, kitchen fridge ect. If it doesn’t stay like that he gets annoyed. Financially everyone has a decent car. The 18 year old wanted a car just a cheap one but I brought a expensive one. That caused an issue of me spoiling saying he didn’t earn it. But the reason me & my husband brought it because old cars have lots of issues in terms of repairs and loss of money. Ever since that’s been a problem too, previously after the loss of my daughter it had effected the siblings too. They grief differently, the 18 year old lost interest in studies A level and wants to be a boxer. So I don’t want to force him to study and I said do your best shot for A level exam. In addition we family business, shortage of staff become an issue. They have to go in with dad, the second son expects the 18 year old too go to help, he does when he can. I try to understand everyone, I maybe be a bit easy to 18 year old. Same time I have also been same to them in their times. That’s the part they don’t understand that they were 18 once. Yet personality may be different but it was difficult for me then and in this day and age I am more open with my 18 year old. I spoiled everyone as a mother even during their time. So the elder 2 wants the younger 18 year old to be like them. It’s going to take time to process and mature. Previously the 2 lads second one & 18 year old had a fall out on my daughters death anniversary day. The 18 year old wanted to go gym, so he said he was coming, but I said don’t go now we are having a special ceremony, so the second son heard it and kept going on how useless he is and both snapped out to a aggressive argument. Ever since not in best book and not taking. We tried to unite them and get them to make up but still distance. It’s like I’m getting negative and negative. It’s effecting me and I do try to be non judgmental. I try to say that I see how much everyone is going and appreciate them. But they talk about one another saying ‘ he could have done this that’ or the other one sits dies nothing, but I know that’s not true I see everyone are doing hard work as much but they don’t see each other’s worth and appreciation. They tend to discourage each other when talking to me complaining. I try not to defend whilst they talk about their sibling but it effects me a lot and I cry. I
I am really moved by all the comments, and can really relate to the pain as I have a similar problems that feel impossible to fix. Strangely it helps to know I am not alone as I actually thought I was.
I also have two adult children 41 and 39 my son and daughter don’t get along it’s really heartbreaking I pray all the time I just want God to heal them
My two daughters, aged 46 & 45, have not spoken for over 6 months. It has caused a huge hole in our family. Unfortunately, we all live in the same town and our home has traditionally been the hub of all family activities. We no longer host family dinners and it is heartbreaking. My one daughter asks every time I invite them to dinner is “who is going to be there?” I simply don’t t answer her recently. They act like three year olds rather than adults. They are making it much easier to leave for the winter. I am so angry with both. I want to tell them to grow up!
Hello parents. I have a 25 year old son and a 22 year old daughter who both live at home. I welcome them to live at home and save as much money as they can so that they can someday a afford to buy a house in this crazy economy (average cost of a small semi detached is approximately $1,400,000.00). My eldest is my charismatic social butterfly, much like myself, but has struggled with his ADHD throughout life, that has spurred boughts of depression however has insisted on working through his adhd without medication because he has such a brilliant mind. Whereas my sweet, kind, loyal daughter is very intelligent and successful and a born leader. Both have graduated from university. My daughter has chosen to continue her post graduate studies for another two years, whereas my son has chosen to go into business on his own. This has proven to be very difficult during this pandemic and is financially struggling. I have fallen ill several times and for the most part my daughter has taken care of me and the household and weilds that power over all of us by being very commanding and controlling. My son, becomes very angry at this aggression and responds likewise. My daughter blames me for babying him and always taking his side because he gave me his stem cells and bone marrow to save my life when he was 19 years old and I pity him for not having the ability to stay organized and keep the house clean. On the opposite end of the spectrum, she suffers from anxiety and OCD. Just that scenario alone can send any household into a war zone. Now during this pandemic, my daughter’s anxiety has hit an all-time high worrying I will become seriously ill if I should catch it. So we all remain very cautious and take every precaution we can, but even so, covid found its way in with my son catching it. Now the rules she has put in place have been breached causing an all out war. Trying to stay out of it, till they pointed fingers at me while I tried to quell the arguement, one blames me for enabling the other one to c9ntrol me and the household while the other blames me for favoring the boy (in Italian they term it “Figlio Bello” meaning beautiful or favored son) a very common phenomena in the Italian culture and in my own family. Now I am left feeling guilty in both ways. How do I help them get passed this. We are a very close knit family who really enjoys each other and spend a lot of time together including nightly dinners together. I am taking a close look at my own reactions and behaviors to see what I can do differently to change this tension. I would also love to hear words of support and encouragement I could use with each of them.
I have two adult daughters that live with me. My younger daughter have two grandboys. They have been angry with each other for over two years. What hurts me is that my older daughter will buy her nephew’s something for their birthdays or Christmas and my younger daughter (the boy’s mother) will throw their items away and that makes the boys sad and really makes me angry. I’ve tried to talk with both of them individually and together and it hasn’t help the situation. As a widowed parent I’m feeling that I don’t have the same influence as their father had over them. Any response will be greatly appreciated.
My boy is 22 & girl is 19 they had some mad argument at xmas and it ended with some horrible name calling and nasty comments neither will apologise one of them will try and move on but says they want the other to speak first to them. The other will not let it go or move on and is demanding an apology.
We have another girl older than both and she is not involved
We were involved a bit but have resolved the issues they each had with us
How are we to get them back on track with each other.
We have always been really close, we all get on really well, have fun with each other, holidays etc… but now this has happened it has put us in a situation where we can’t go out as a family or spend time together as a family which is something we use to love doing
Any advice would be great thanks
I have a 24 year old son who has mental health issues , he is on medication but is very detached from his feelings , lacks empathy and is very brutal with the truth. He lives at home. I also have twin 20 year old daughters who live at University, when they come back my son his horrible to them. Intimidates them , has conversations that lead to arguments. He over powers them , and he’s hurtful. My girls have told me if I don’t evict him from my home they will not come home to stay for visits. It is actually breaking our family apart. I dread any get together for fear of one look or one comment starting it off.
I had already tried most of the suggestions above and most of them work 80% of the time. I am a negotiator in my job. However I still find there are little things that trigger my kids’ emotions that I can’t anticipate. Hints for handling that situation would be helpful.
Is my adult son supposed to pick my side as his mother or my “dead to me family” that’s my only question/problem. ?? He went around them at 18 my (my mom over stepped boundaries again and family brainwashed him tslked him into living there and he is trying to continue living in their state with them. Anyone associated with them is dead to me. .
Yes I would tell the one in the wrong they were wrong and try make him fix things. I feel so bad for you I’m going through a similar situation and it really sucks!
We have two sons and they have been “dead to each other” for two years, ever since the older son hired the younger son to do a job as a subcontractor. The younger son underbid the job and made it very difficult (and humiliating) – basically “change ordering” for more money. Now they don’t talk. At first, I told them to work it out and tried not to get involved (read avoided). That didn’t work. Now we see them separately and the older son still has deep scars. Today, Thanksgiving, the younger son is coming, but the older son is having Thanksgiving with friends. As their father I feel I need to say something, but what? Tell him he was wrong, I think.
My daughter is 25 & my son is 22. I am so upset seeing both of my children fighting & not getting along. They both live at home. The fighting begins over just about anything. If the ice cube trays are empty or someone is taking too long in the bathroom. I try not to intervene, but when it gets physical, I need to get involved. Their issues are deeply emotional. They saw my ex abuse me. I’ve had the police over my house & I myself have gotten hurt – went to the hospital. As my daughter was trying to hit her brother, I got in the middle…my head banged into the wall & I had a panic attack. Each of them blame the other. Trying to get family therapy, but will it really help?
I have similar issues like you. My two sons have fall out from untidiness, why the bathroom hasn’t been cleaned, responsibility’s ect. It’s harder when there older and can’t do methods when they were children.
I have 2 adult daughters, 4 years apart.
Both intelligent, kind, & on their own,
This post was no help whatsoever.
I was very disappointed that I received no help whatsoever with this situation.
Sarah, thank you for responding. I am quite upset that much of my letter was erased! So much so that the story is misconstrued. My daughter and son were very close in the early years. For the past 10, since my son chose to follow a controversial church, my daughter has had issues with him. States apart don’t help. She is co-pastors with her husband; is very talented in teaching seminars about relationships, but can’t see her fault in how she now feels about her brother. I urge them to communicate. She says he has shut her out. I urge them to put things aside..accept their own ‘stuff’ and forgive each other… Now I’m the one who is getting reprimanded by my daughter!!! My daughter is 5 years older. I have 2 other children older than them. One is recently diseased and that brought on a whole other issue between the younger ones!!!! I am 85! When will this stop???
This whole covid nightmare has caused so many people and families very deep depression. Churches, schools, restaurants and many jobs have closed their doors at no fault of their own.
I personally think this covid is a mental nightmare but a financial nightmare as well. When our security (emotional, financial or health issues) feels so out of our own hands many humans resort to different ways of coping (or not coping well.. turning to drugs or violence) This period in history is different from anything and I truly think it has changed many people for the worse and for some maybe this was a wake up call to the fragility of life as a whole.
Daughter and son and older kids are probably extremely stressed and maybe even a bit depression hence the lashing out at the only person that will take the lashing and care about their thoughts and opinions, however just because 😏 you are so kind that doesn’t make it right. You really have tried everything and distance is no ones friend right now. I pray this covid comes to an end so we can act like a civil population again. I believe when I read your words this situation will stop with the grown kids bc you raised them very well and perhaps they are just struggling so much within themselves with this pandemic 😷 reoccurring and their kids. One thing is for sure, you have done your best in everything and deserve to wait in peace for the pettiness to stop. I believe your children love you more than “the way they have behaved in the last year and a half”… the good side of people has been a bit harder to see, but it’s still there. Prayers and email me anytime. You are obviously a wonderful mother🥰😇
My adult daughter and son are not speaking to each other. They live in separate states. The daughter is 5 years older; invested so much into her brother when they were growing up. The daughter co-pastors a church with her husband. Son, as an adult, chose a controversial church and dismissed his sister when she became critical of his choice. Sister can’t seem to communicate without jabs and pokes…to the point he’s had enough. Thus fails to respond.
I am 85 and desperately want my family united. I have spoken and written to each of them the need for them to acknowledge their faults and forgive each other. They both are waiting for the other to say it first. This has gone on for over 10 years now. 5 years ago, she coerced me into placing her ahead of him as co-executer. Then continued to make disparaging comments about him. He is a good man. He doesn’t come home often because of financial reasons…maybe more…and that disturbs her greatly.
I have a great relationship with him, as I did with her until she started picking on him.
Because my daughter is a spiritual leader; very talented in giving seminars on relationships; I’ve probably spoken to her more. She highly resents me now. Accusing me of playing favorites, lying to her, being unfair, and other hurtful things. Because of her position as a pastor, I don’t understand her extreme bouts of anger and screaming at me; as well as not acknowledging her own faults. I have no anger or malice against her. We were very close until just a month ago. I have said I’m so sorry for her pain and how I’ve contributed to it. But no matter which way or how often I speak it, isn’t enough or used the right words to meet her needs. I’ve tried to make myself transparent and vulnerable, but nothing works. My heart deeply hurts for her!!
My son would accept her apology if she gave it. I have also tried to tell him it’s sometimes necessary to be the first to apologize. I have two very stubborn children!! I’m at my wits end. I love both with all my heart!
I’m not a parent in this case but my sister and I have not been speaking to each other for years now.
I want to be close to her and I have tried many times to mend our relationship but we always end up fighting (about small things) and my sister will resort to not speaking to me/ignoring me.
I feel like my mother is mostly to blame she never tried to help us get along and refuses to hear us out when we try to talk to her about our conflicts she says she doesn’t want to hear about it or get involved and that we are both adults so we should work it out on our own…
Your mom must have ego issue because a mother of two daughters should not repeat things and lie to create the easy life for themselves. For my own mother this is rooted from her childhood…
If mom is at root of issues maybe she had a very bad relationship with her half sister. I was good enough to do many things out of my comfort zone for my sister, but if stress comes her way from our mother. I haven’t talked to mine either at the fault of a jealous mommy.. prayers things turn better with sis
I’m worried my two won’t talk fir a long time. They were SO SO close now because of covid (which is so dumb) they’re not speaking. As a parent I’ve tried for 8 months to mend this to no avail. I now have come to the conclusion that they are adults and have to work this out on their own. I have terminal cancer for heavens sake and that’s not doing a thing. 🙁
2 adult children (son and daughter) won’t talk to each other. Daughter is angry than son does not come to see mother, so she tries to get mother to remove him from being executor and put her in his place. Mother has a good relationship with both. Religious issues are mixed in. Mother (me) will not make the change and tries to persuade children to forgive and play nice. Now both are mad at mom. How do I back out of this mess?
If I’m understanding correctly, your son is the oldest and first born are normally listed first on any estate planning , I do realize that this is not always the case, (my mothers sister (oldest)got nothing from her mother passing, not even stuff for memories like jewelry or dolls grandma made, all went to my mom who was the youngest and from a different father and my mother made sure no one got one thing) so it can always go that way.
Anyhow, daughter seems to want to control her mom bc she feels she is around mom more which tells daughter subconsciously she loves mom more, but that is not always the case either. Living closer to my parents always made our relationship better. I think daughter is worried brother gets more? Also maybe daughter feels she knows your health better than son.? So much to this as you stated, but just threaten to leave it to the homeless animals. Seen it done so many times bc of bratty fights about money and the stress it causes the mom or dad or both.
I would give some time for those two to apologize and realize the fighting causes health issues and is massively stressful for a loving mom like yourself and for them as well…extended family is so important
Sarah, thank you for responding. I am quite upset that much of my letter was erased! So much so that the story is misconstrued. My daughter and son were very close in the early years. For the past 10, since my son chose to follow a controversial church, my daughter has had issues with him. States apart don’t help. She is co-pastors with her husband; is very talented in teaching seminars about relationships, but can’t see her fault in how she now feels about her brother. I urge them to communicate. She says he has shut her out. I urge them to put things aside..accept their own ‘stuff’ and forgive each other… Now I’m the one who is getting reprimanded by my daughter!!! My daughter is 5 years older. I have 2 other children older than them. One is recently diseased and that brought on a whole other issue between the younger ones!!!! I am 85! When will this stop???
My oldest and youngest were extremely close. 12/13/20 they had a fight about covid of all things. They haven’t spoken since. As a parent that lost a sibling to a unexpected death I try to impress upon them that nothing is that important to keep them from talking. My daughter has 2 boys and my son just had a little girl. I’m so sad that these kids will not know each other. My son is one of her boys Godfather that relationship has also fizzled out. It’s not the kids fault the parents are acting like idiots why should they suffer? They hurt WAY more people in the family other then just themselves. Here’s the kicker in 3/2020 I was diagnosed with terminal cancer at 57. I feel they are disrespectful knowing this and still arguing. They are both very stubborn and just keep throwing angry jabs at each other sometimes through me. I cannot die knowing my kids despise each other. I’m doing well right now but know that won’t be this way forever. HELP!!!
My daughter is 31 and son is 26.
I wish, I could speak to one of your grown kids bc this is how my family acts with my fathers pancreatic cancer, you would think getting along would be a major priority, but my mother and sister said they are living their life. I understand what that means, I just don’t follow or subscribe to treating anyone that way. My mother just inherited her mother’s estate and right after, my mother says, we will see how this unfolds. She blames my dad for being sick and getting cancer, He was on a ventilator twice in 2020.. I think pride and jealousy have caused some of my issues, however, I certainly am not the only one who needs advice on behavior. You deserve better right now, peace, comforting and fun memories and small gatherings with the children and their kids. Prayers..
I have 3 children, a son 36 years old, a daughter, 47 years old and another daughter 40 years old. My son and oldest daughter get along great, the 40 year old daughter does not speak to her brother or sister. They fight all the time. My son wants to the family to just get along, with conditions. He says that the 40 year old daughter doesn’t come around enough. He wants to see her more. She states she’s living her life with her two children. She comes around when she can, but misses a long because all summer on the weekends, she spends her time with her husband and kids at her camp, and has missed family get togethers, and my son and older daughter get upset about that. My life with my kids is really a mess. I don’t know what to say to them. They’re always coming to me, but when I say what I think, they get upset becaue to each of them, they are all say they’re not wrong. So for me to say anything at all, goes no where. I do talk about my siblings, and how we all respect each other. I’m just so lost at what to do to help fix this. I know they all love each other. It’s a very sad situation. There are things in their past that they cannot let go of either. It’s constantly there, hidden behind their words.
I think you know as their mother that the issues are deep rooted in the past. Maybe the grown children can get together and talk through some of these issues so the family can have more fun and light hearted interactions with everyone. I would love my sibling and mother to want family gatherings. I feel that many people don’t realize how lucky they are until someone gets very sick and it changes everything so much and the regrets become so big. Well wishes and hope everyone is smiling together at a family event very soon.
My sons are 32 and 35 and do not get along even civally; got my heart torn up in that they can’t seem to even start getting along; I’ pretty frustrated with each of them; what to do?
I would kindly tell your grown children how lucky they are to have parents or a parent that want their children to get along and to be around each other and enjoy nice family gatherings. My own mother wants my only sister to herself as a best friend and has caused so many issues that my sister doesn’t talk to me. I have no grandkids for my mother, but my sister has four. I would love a parent to care if their own offspring are having issues, however I must state that grown children must appreciate parent(s) that love and want to be around them. So many people don’t have that family and maybe family is being taken for granted. I personally have been left out of all family holidays since I stopped getting the honor of hosting them in 2013. My mother hated to clean her home to have her two children and spouses visit so all family plans were left to my sister who never had enough room for my spouse and I at any holidays. Don’t wait for someone to get a cancer diagnosis and even then some mothers can still have the desire to break the family apart for her own selfish reasons. Time goes by so fast. I wish I had a loving family like yours and I wish you all the best in creating fun family memories…best of luck
My adult children are 28 and 32. They are radically different politically, and it is very difficult to have any family functions that don’t end in a screaming match. I have de-activated my FB account so I don’t have to see them debate there, as well as in person. We have had family therapy a few times, and it seems to help unpack things for a while, but it never lasts. Neither one is wrong in their beliefs, just different. Neither one is a bad human being. However, there are issues from the past that come up over and over, and it always seems to be my fault. I am struggling to stay on an even keel mentally, as I feel so guilty over their arguments and feel as if I could have prevented some of them. As it stands now, I will do ANYTHING to avoid having the four of us in one house at any time. This is no way to live.
Two adult children need to learn we all have different opinions and no one has to be right, but if this arguing is hurting your mom, stop it. Only mother you get and you sound like a wonderful mom. Prayers
My adult children are estranged from each other. My husband and I are caught in the middle. My son and daughter pour out their arguments to me for why they are not at fault and what the other one said or did. I have explained to them that this is an impossible situation for us, similar to a child whose parents are angry at and blame each other. Part of me wants to tell both of them not to come home for the holidays. Then I think they should come home and cope with the problem they have created for our family, although I can imagine a horrible fracas. I am frustrated, hurt and embarrassed at their behavior.
I have 2 grown daughters. They have been fighting for over 6 months and my eldest doesn’t want to talk with her.
My eldest is getting married and her sister isn’t invited.
I am very hurt by this. Do I go to the wedding while my other daughter can’t attend and stays home feeling hurt?
My eldest won’t budge. She will not allow to go.
This would be a long lasting mistake that oldest sibling can’t take back(time is never given back). I would tell adult daughter to act as such and also you don’t have to like everyone at your wedding. Who does??!! Or at least years later dislike most guests. I’m the oldest sister and we must take the high road.
Currently, my charming sister has disowned me for our mother, bc mother wants to be a sister. So unfortunate for my sister and I. One day it will be ok.
I have 4 adult daughters. They are in constant competition. They measure everything I do. And if they think I did more for one than another, they get hurt. Right now I have 2 daughters pregnant and due on the same day. But they are not even speaking. The whole family is torn apart. I think my girls would be better off if I were dead. Because I always have one hurt because she thinks I did more for another. I am so emotionally exhausted by trying to make peace, that I have lost all hope.
Right so, not sure if this is even active or not but am tired of dealing with it all. 2nd eldest of family of ten with 3 younger sisters, 3 younger brothers and 1 elder brother. All of them are adults and above 18, currently we live together to help save on money and on account of the new house parents bought to have everyone together. However, there are constant bickering and fighting, earlier today an altercation occurred leading to two younger brothers to lay into each other physically before separating. I feel like they simply need to be separated and move out to better assist them in their issues rather than trying to force them to get along with one another in a closed proximity.
I have 2 adult children . My oldest has bi polar and when angry strikes out a lot with words. My youngest has decided to not have anything to do with the oldest because of this and the fact the last verbal attack included a fiancé also getting verbally attacked. When I set up separate dinners for them for Easter I then got attacked for allowing the one to ignore the other. I am not sure if I am right or wrong for how I have handled it.
I have 4 beautiful boys(men) .. 1 has a disability so is not included in the below story.
My 3 boys are married and there is dispute. 1 or the other doesn’t like his brother’s wife and now 2 of them doesn’t like the 1 boy his wife. So we(parents) don’t know what ti do. Each side is as stubborn and blame the other.
I am very saddened to see 3 siblings apart and argue.
Don’t know what we do.
I would certainly love to be a part of group where I can obtain help from various other seasoned individuals that share the same interest. If you have any type of recommendations, please let me understand. Thank you.
Brace yourself for a convoluted story. As it happened, my son’s wife is an anti-vaxxer, something none of us knew before she gave birth, but has affected the family since my daughter’s child was born nearly 3 years ago. My daughter, now 39, said ‘if you want to meet the baby, get a DPT booster.” All four grandparents did, and her friends mostly had theirs also. But my son’s 1-year-old hadn’t b been immunized, and neither he nor his wife would get boosters. So, they could not see the baby until after the baby’s DPT first shot. My son, now 45, was in-between a rock and a hard place because his wife would not countenance his getting a DPT booster. And he was angry, frustrated over the whole situation. He was so eager to his his sisters baby! Things have only worsened during the pandemic. My daughter and her husband (and I) have gotten the vaccine, and, of course, my son and his wife have not. My daughter allowed my son and his daughter to visit outdoors a week ago (a miracle, actually) and a few days later my granddaughter came down with a cold. My daughter blamed my son for bringing his daughter over even though she had the sniffles. You cannot imagine the words they’ve had over this cold (which I, age 74, also got because I double-bubble with my daughter and her family.) This story sounds so trite as I re-read it, but it’s truly a serious problem. Christmas was bad enough.: I brunched at my daughter’s and dined at my son’s (we ate in the garage with the doors open for maximum ventilation). Easter is upon us, and everything has truly turned to manure. I’ve decided that I’m advising the children to seek mediation/therapy together to iron out the toxicity that’s brewed between them. I myself am in-between a rock and a hard place, and I don’t like it one bit. My golden years have badly tarnished as my children fight. I’ve left out lots of material and may have made the story seem inconsequential. It is not. Thanks for listening.
Having read all these posts, truly let’s you know you are not alone.
Since the beginning of time, starting with Cain & Able in the garden of Eden where life begin, has not changed.
One day, I compared my family issues with all of my siblings (9).
Each family had a Cain & Able!
Spoke to many of my neighbors (thinking they have it all together)
and found same problems.
This is universal; we are not alone.
Raising 3 children, oldest 14 & two 10 year olds (boy girl twins) after their father passing away was the greatest responsibility of my life.
The oldest became rebellious (depressed) because life to her was no longer the same.
This compounded the grieving process for all of us.
It also exacerbated my Son’s condition (as diagnosed) of ADHD.
Six years later, at 16 yrs old, diagnosed with a Pituitary tumor.
His twin sister (as diagnosed) with clinical depression at age 10.
I did my best to incorporate Godly principles. Each with their own personalities does not mean cohesiveness. Different as night & day.
From the beginning of time to everyone under the Sun, imprinted
In our human hearts; JEALOUSY.
My oldest became resentful of all the attention directed at the twins who had conditions difficult for one parent to contain.
She wasn’t mature enough to handle & well understood AFTER the fact.
However, that never changed & pretty much estranged herself from me after leaving home.
When she turned 21, she did not ask me in anyway to help with her wedding due to her estrangement.
I offered to pay for the entire wedding of which she accepted , almost resentfully (pride).
There was never gratitude shown, almost like entitlement, to this very day.
She had 4 children of which she did not deny me seeing, however used them as power leverage.
I anguished for decades as the younger twins sympathized with me.
She then estranged her brother bc he had a short fuse (brain tumor) that didn’t hold back his anger of her position that led to not allowing him to see her children of whom he loved & lavished.
She blames me saying I coddle his behavior. She doesn’t understand
that I refused to get involved bc they are adults. I cannot change him or her position in life.
After 18, they are responsible for their own behavior.
The twin with the clinical depression has suffered being caught in the middle of their animosity & always trying to bring the peace. She is the most wholesome caring/giving person.
As their Mother, my heart has bled for each one in their own struggles, for decades.
About 5 years ago (I’m now going on 71) I came to the REALITY of letting go.
I did everything to the best of my ability to raise my children to know & trust God & now it was my turn to trust God with not only their lives but mine.
I am no longer responsible (but always here if they NEED help).
I have boundaries, they know I have boundaries & they have become independent & responsible citizens in every way.
However, estrangement still exists. I have peace NOW because I stopped living for them (they still are & always be my children & always be here for them, they know that) but Iearned it was TIME to LIVE my life dedicated to God & God alone.
It’s filled with soo much love & a peace you will never find in this world.
Spending time reading God’s Word brings an abundance of blessings in all aspects of life.
The peace is knowing that He will bring everything together (NOT me) all in His time.
He can change their hearts, I cannot!
I learned that when we try resolving conflicts that we are playing God & in His way of handling what is His to do.
My responsibility is to always always pray for them.
My TRUST in Him is my PEACE & JOY!
We are to be peacemakers, speaking truth in a loving gentle way.
I have a guy with 2 brothers one sister. My younger brother is 6 years younger than me. In our childhood I used to take care of him so much. When he became 12 years old fights started. He was rude and I was stubborn. I guess my parents didn’t took care of my as much as him that is the main reason for getting away from each other. After the last fight I was 22 and my mom was so upset and he said he is sorry and I hugged him and everything ended miraculously. We are great now and I love him too much especially that he lives and works away now. I am 30 years old now and he is 24. I don’t know why memories from our fights and last fight especially haunt me I love him so much amd I feel regret for it.
I love your perspective.
Thank you for this article. It’s just what I needed to read. I have two grown sons who are as different as night and day. I’ve often ended up in the middle of their spats. The advice in the article has given me a new outlook.
I have 4 children with 3 dads and the youngest child his father has passed away, but he step up and took myself and 3 of my children. but when alcohol is involve the youngest who doesn’t understand as the older 2 father is trying to reach out to them and he hurt as his dad raised them and always need to argue about it? How do I talk to my eldest son about this he didn’t really get on with him as an adult he went away to work for 5 years and didn’t come home for his dad’s funeral, how to handle this?
I have two adult daughters, who lost their dad recently. He and I had been divorced for 25 years. They are both teachers, and each have boys, 12, and daughters 10 and 8. Their husbands work at the same company. Their dad had written letters to each of them on and off, about what bad daughters they were. One daughter forgave him, the other is still very mad at him.
Then he got sick and died. The one who forgave him is involved with his services, but has cut out The other who had not forgave him . It breaks my heart to see them at odds over someone who was very mean to both of them. They were very close, now he has destroyed their relationship, in death.
counselors just tell me to stay out , and they will work it out. It gets worse everyday. both of them saying bad things about the other. I cry overnight.
What to do?
I absolutely agree with you. There is something in this and I think this is a very great idea. I completely agree with you.
We moved nearer our daughter one hour away, as she and hubby work full time with three kids (but they manage fine).
But now our son and daughter in law (with two kids and whom we are very close with ) feel desperately hurt. DIL is a cautious driver and I should have realized this before. So we think we should move back as we do love them and they are sweet gentle people who don’t speak up…
But now we’re hurting our daughter, SIL, and kids…
This really hurts…
Do we move equidistant? And be deprived of being nearer to either?
This is an excellent article. It validates many of my tactics during times of family strife. I am sometimes unsure that I am doing this correctly because both parties try to drag you into giving an opinion. Compromise and agreeing to disagree politely is the best outcome always in a family argument. It is easier to see everyone separately than to force togetherness when at times family members don’t value the family bond the way others do.
Toxic people exist, they can be family, they believe they’re good people but being on the receiving end of their behaviour you may feel differently.
They give truth to the saying ‘friends are the family we choose for ourselves’.
No matter how close the relationship, you were not put on this earth to be verbally, emotionally or physically abused by family members or treated as though you are excrement under their shoes.
Sadly, some families are deeply dysfunctional…some siblings behave like a pack of hyenas in childhood & youth and sadly retain the behaviour as adults.
If you’re on the receiving end, take an honest look at yourself, your other relationships & how they work, the good, normal, respectful, caring people, who as friends, colleagues etc love you, treat you well. If you have the same negative issues in these relationships be honest with yourself, take responsibility and make change to improve ALL your relationships. However, as is often the case, if toxic family members are the true issue, dont hold back….RUN!! Don’t fear walking away from those people no matter how close, don’t fear cutting them out of your life, don’t stay around to be on the receiving end of more abuse.
Do what is absolutely right for your happiness, your life, your wellbeing and walk away, cut them out…you owe no explanation, you owe no more suffering, no more emotional pain.
Take real ownership of life, be free and leave them to resolve their negativity and toxic behaviour. You will not regret it.
My daughter is 40, my son is 42, when my son was married his sister made comments about his open marriage, my son made comments about minding her own business, my son doesn’t like how his sister was raising her son, my son said he doesn’t like the boy he is 18 now, for the last 4 years they don’t talk, we can’t get together anymore, my husband has been dead for 7 years and this is hard, guilting them doesn’t work, so 1 Thanksgiving it is me and my son food from my daughter, Christmas Eve the same, cChristmas day I am with my daughter and her family, then with leftover from my daughter my son comes to my house, see my daughter still wants to feed her brother,, I split my time between them, I am still their mom I listen when they want to talk, I take no sides
It breaks my heart, my brother is 1,000 miles away and we video chat and talk all the time, we do disagree on lots of things we try to not talk about sex, religion or political stuff, my kids are different, I just want my peace ☮️ and I have found it
That’s really, really helpful thank you. There is a rift between my two daughters (in their forties).
I won’t go into pages of detail but I didn’t know whether to intervene. Now I know to follow this advice and have good relationships with each of them and leave it for them to resolve.
They may never get there and that will be very sad but they each need to know I love them both.
Thank you SO much.
My children are 30 and 37. My 37-year-old is from a prior relationship and has always struggled with not being treated like a natural child of my husband. He is her father and in time became a better father but it did take time. She unfortunately holds a grudge. My children have very strong personalities and have tempers. They had a falling out. Very cruel things were said about each other, and my daughter said hateful things about her nephew. They have made some progress but the holidays are coming and they don’t want to share the holidays together. I feel like I want to run away and avoid them. I have stayed out of the fight but of course one of them feels that I have taken sides. I really feel heavy-hearted and don’t know how to move through my heartache.
I appreciate every parent and child that has shared their story on this article. Although it’s hard to read the heartbreaking stories, I feel that you all are the only ones that can understand the pain I have of having adult children that are feuding. It’s been seven months now that my children have been fighting and I can’t see any improvement. I see here that I’ve made some mistakes by trying to solve the problems. It’s so very hard not to take it personally as the mother, and I keep revisiting every mistake I can think of that’s caused this to happen. My children are good people but they are ‘right fighters’ and will not accept that they could have contributed to the problem. I keep hoping one will step up and be the ‘hero’ and forgive the others but I don’t see it happening any time soon and the longer it goes, the harder it will be to mend the bridges between them. Has anyone here had any success with anything they’ve tried or any words to give me some hope that we can be a loving family again? I’m a single Mom and I’ve told them in the past that it hurts me worse than anything when they fight with each other. I don’t know whether to remind them of it now because I don’t want to sound like I’m guilting them.
Sadly, we are in the same situation. They are “dead to each other” but what do you do on holidays? Do they come at separate times? One has two children the other has none. Thanksgiving and Christmas don’t know what to do?
I’m so glad I never had children! I was convinced I’m not cut out to be a mom and I had my tubes tied in my 30s against most peoples’ advice. I’m 65 and I sometimes worry about who will take care of me if I need that, but you sure can’t count on your kids, can you? And it’s not necessarily your ‘fault.’ It’s nothing you did or neglected to do; they were born with a certain personality and a certain ability to love, just as you were, and that’s that, period.
Read the Alcoholics Anonymous prayer and try to take that to heart. Step back and take care of yourself first; otherwise you’ll not be able to take care of anyone else. Yoga is very therapeutic but do find something that calms you. Always remember to step back.
I’m so sorry you’re having these problems.
Hello – I am a single mom of 3 sons (divorced in 1984), my oldest is 46 and my youngest is 39. My middle son passed in 2012, age 34, – he had struggled with drugs in the past and he finally succumbed to them after turning his life around for 6 years.
My oldest son and I have been estranged for 6 years – had a very bad argument. We reconciled – and I am visiting him now in Las Vegas.
My oldest son is pushing very hard to reconcile with his younger brother who wants nothing to do with him.
My oldest is single, living with his forever love and no kids, in Las Vegas.
My youngest is married and had 3 kids and 2 foster boys that they will be adopting later this year. He lives in Ohio.
They both have done well in their careers.
My sons are very distinct personalities and have very different lifestyles.
When my youngest got married, my oldest son was a real jerk at the wedding – he just rubs people the wrong way. He also using the “F word” as part of his normal vocabulary. He said it was dumb for my youngest son to have so many kids. I told him that if he ever were to be around his brother’s kids, he would have to clean up his language and he called me a “prude” that everyone talks that way.
Their major falling out was 5 years ago thru an issue of possible “senior abuse” with their dad.
Their dad now lives in a rented house (from my son) in Ohio.
My youngest son and I discussed his brother when I was in Ohio two weeks ago – he told me very adamantly that he wants nothing to do with his brother and that I should please stop talking to him about his brother.
My oldest son says since I am the “mommy” that I need to use my maternal powers to mend their relationship.
My oldest also dwells very much on the past – the divorce, him being a “surrogate dad” rather than a brother, etc. He was a bully when they were growing up – I know he was also very frustrated when his dad wouldn’t take him to live with him. I TELL HIM THAT ALL OF THIS IS IN THE PAST – LET IT GO.
I am at my wits end. I know that they need to do this between themselves – my oldest said he has called the youngest and he won’t respond.
I told him to write a letter – he said he doesn’t do that.
He went to some kind of retreat last week that has caused him to pressure me about this even more.
We all have similar situations. Does anyone have answers?
Looking for advise on my situation, I ran across this post. I have a unique problem, I think. I have three children, all five years apart. Girl. Boy. Girl. The last girl is adopted. They all know of course. Since being grown there have been multiple issues with her. I understand, and know where it is coming from. However, since having 2 children it has multiplied many times over. I’ll not go into all the many arguments there have been. Mostly they are with her sister, 10 years older. My son has 3 boys and lives 5 mins. from me. My oldest daughter has one grown daughter and lives about 20 mins away. The youngest daughter has 2 children but they live an hour away. There is a HUGE disagreement going on now because my youngest daughter is upset because she says her sister favors her brothers 3 children and ignores her children. She claims the kids know it and it has upset her whole family. There was a family event yesterday. They did not attend. Dealing with an adopted adult child who definitely has issues makes my situation much more complicated! Not much advice out there on this.
Thanks for sharing your current situation, Sonya. This is a tough situation for a parent to be in.
Has anyone else been through a similar situation? How did you handle it?
I have 3 adult sons. My older son is married and his wife has MS. My middle son is living with a women that constantly critizing the entire family especially my older son and his wife. How can I defuse this situation without alienizing either son? I am 76 years old and had a stroke 3 years. I need assistance at times from both of them. I feel that I am caught in the middle of all of this.
I was severely struck by my younger sister in 2004. This affected my self development and self esteem to date. I stagnated.
There are very strong feelings of wortilessness on my part, I am bigger,
We became estranged, and stopped talking from then,
She said I was her nothing,
Even I have two kids ,who don’t get along.
My daughter is elder to my son and she is in her twenty’s and son is tennager.They just don’t get along .I have tried everything possible but things r getting out of my hand .My daughter is very short tempered and mostly she’s at fault but just not in the mood to listen or compromise.They have common bedroom but every now and then she asks him to go out of room.He’s also getting very furious on her nature.I’m totally helpless because I keep fighting with my daughter.She is absolutely no mood to listen or accept her mistake
Hi. Thank you for your comments. I have two adult boys 22 and 24. It’s has always been hard as a single mother but now it’s even worst they fight all the time sometimes I have to be in the middle so they won’t physically fight. It breaks my heart as a mother cause I love my brothers and sisters and never fought or disrespect them . I have been struggling with both since they were teenagers cause they don’t want to do anything with theirs lives. I still financially support them and try to help them accomplish what ever dreams they had while growing up but they always quit. I have spend so much money I have worked all my life to give them what they needed thinking that one they they will help me but no it’s not like that. I find myself paying for their mistakes. They both live in my house and I pay for everything but the worst part is the fighting like if they are two strangers that hate each other. I’m so tired of their ways and inside I’m so disappointed and angry that when they fight I loose it too and scream like a crazy person trying to make them stop. I’m so sad I can’t let go and try to live my life away from them. They are very loving kids when they want to be and I don’t want them to get hurt in any way life can be ugly and one little mistake and they can be gone for ever. I don’t like spending time with them there is always and argument. My heart goes out to all of you and thank you. I trust in God And hope For a miracle. God bless you all.
as a divorced adult parent mom I try to love my 31 and 33 yr old sons equally and although I think I do a pretty good job I find it difficult because I am frustrated with their behaviors
There is clearly competition and jealousy between the two of them and I do not believe that it was my doing
One son seems to be caring And see the close family bonds and morals that I admire
The older one is in a marriage and is very distant and disconnected
He seems to be thoughtless and selfish
I want to say something to him but I’m afraid that it will trigger a massive fight and he will get angry with me and withdraw further but I feel compelled to want to help improve things now because in the future when there is an inheritance I feel there’s going to be major conflict
Passing of my brother my sons were entitled to some of his personal possessions there seems to be a lot of jealousy and competition over what they should be entitled to and it makes me very upset because I feel that they have no entitlement at all yet at the same time I would like them to have some important pieces of their uncles liv passing of my brother my sons were entitled to some of his personal possessions there seems to be a lot of jealousy and competition over what they should be entitled to and it makes me very upset because I feel that they have no entitlement at all yet at the same time I would like them to have some important pieces of their uncles life
The future likely will be that they will inherit their fathers home which will be a challenge in that they both feel bonded to the home and the value and I can’t imagine how this is going to play out and I anticipated being ugly unless their dad is sensible enough to write up will that prevents a lot of conflict
Im so relieved to know im not alone..Also sorry for all the sad mums above…Iv had so many many similar problems as yourselvs…Raised my 5 children alone for 20yrs since my divorce..4boys 1girl..Theres been every problem under the sun..Fights and toxic comments..Iv sometimes tried to stay out of it, also tried to help, plus make them see sense..Alas, iv just lost my second eldest boy.. Im grief stricken …He was troubled, Fighting addiction..We were all close..Family Dinners outings cple holidays..Many many deep discussions..I was and am a solid loving mum throughout..Always putting them first….Theres now many more arguments and terrible sadness….It happened 4 months ago….Now my only daughter who lives at home with me, and her own daughter my granddaughter are also squabbling…My daughter whom is very very close to me, feels the need to keep pecking me, and saying things about the past..Which is very upsetting.They never see their father, He featured very randomly in their lives which was upsetting to us all…He also never attended his sons funeral…Which devastated me….Life will never ever be rounded again….My boy has gone forever..Its pulling us apart slowly….Im being very strong..But so sad and frightend……!
Thanks for sharing your story, Janet, and letting others know they’re not alone. And our deepest condolences to you and your family for your loss.
As a parent you have to try and be neutral like Switzerland. You love them all equally so you can’t take sides. Talk about ways you resolved disagreements peacefully but do it subtly. Don’t become too involved or be the message taker/ stuck in the middle. They are adults….let them be adults
OMG, these comments are so like my own life. My 3,adult In 40’s Children have a hugh Rift caused after my only son was made executor of the dads estate. The oldest daughter sued my son to gain control as she felt he was not moving things along fast enough. I tried explaining that the process is a long one, be patient etc but to no avail. She proceeded w lawyers and litigation which ended w no evidence of wrong doing after two fiduciary accounting’s, the details are horrendous, and there’s no end in sight.. my son is unmarried w no children and my daughter has 3 children that I’m very close too.. but she kept me from seeing them for almost 3 years, aligning me w accusations w my son. She burned so many bridges w vitriol and insults that I find it hard to regain our past relationship. But slowly I’m rebuilding w the children… this thanksgiving she was back home but stayed w the in-laws and we spent one day at an amusement park, as I drove she complained that because my son was at my house she couldn’t come and the children either.. now insisting I allow her and kids stay at Xmas w me….. I can’t turn my son away… after sleeping fitfully on the prob all nite, I think I have to tell her today that she may come but can’t make the rules at my house about who can or can’t come. Maybe she has guilt about what she’s done, ripping us all apart starting on her dads death bed, And still denying her sister and brother to see the nieces and nephew. They were very close to their uncle and have trashed him so it’s weird for them to hear my news of his travels and his life.. making me feel so torn to reunite my family. Especially w/o my husband to help problem solve… Yoga has helped me w my stress And to Be mindful. My daughters will never speak to each other and my son is still furious w all the lawyers accountants and money spent defending himself. I always heard money is the root of all evil and now I know that is truly the case. Any comments .
This is a helpful article, heartbreaking as it is. It will make me be careful as I speak to my son and daughter, to avoid comparisons and gossip. And also try not to waste time fretting and worrying about their relationship.
Thank you for making me feel not so alone in this parenting journey.
Maddie I am in exactly the same position with my grown adult daughters 30 and 37 yrs. – single parent. It would be nice if we could actually talk. It is exhausting and making me ill. I too am aging and spent my life trying to please. It’s not working at all. My older one has recently used my granddaughter as a pawn and I am unable to see her for 5 months for not apparent reason. I heart feels broken beyond repair.
Gosh, I have to say at least I don’t feel alone in this cutting pain that I feel about my two adult daughters fighting over and over. Thank you all for sharing. My two girls have a pattern of fighting as adults for the past 10 years now. They are 35 and 40. It hurts me so much that although I am a single parent living 3000 miles away from them, I don’t want to visit anymore. It breaks my heart to have one daughter want to spend time with only me, pick me up and I have to leave her sister alone. I only have these two children and two step grandkids and it feels horrible and like my life has been rather wasted since my marriage went south and now I don’t even have the two girls to share my life with as I’m aging. I’ve tried everything from talking to each one separately to writing letters to just crying my eyes out. I’m realizing that at the age of 69, I’m going to have to rebuild my own life and focus on more positive things and let go of my dreams of family. This is sad, but it so painful to keep trying to find solutions that never hold. I keep them in my prayers and let this all go.
My sister and I are both adults had a fight a few years ago. Til this day my mom takes her side argues with me that I need to include her for different family functions like my sons graduation party so I invited her she didn’t come or notified me Mom said thats not a place for you to talk. I don’t get it. She was upset with me that I didn’t send my sisters daughter anything on her birthday back in June we don’t talk she hasn’t sent anything to my sons either in years. Im the bad one so I told my mom please stop yelling Im about to cry so she hangs up on me really mature My son and I feel that she hates us and my sister is filling her with anger so she yells at me
Tell those adults, life is not guaranteed and cancer ruins lives, so try your best to be kind, we don’t know when our last day can be and the regret they will have could ruin them later. Tell them they are lucky to have parents alive that can travel and want to be around them, when you don’t have family, you will miss what could have been, I’m available for adoption but I’m over 40😢
I have 4 children and have just been on holiday with 2 of my daughter’s and their 6 children. My husband paid for the villa and the flights . The 2nd week was the saddest thing I have ever witnessed in front of my grandchildren. The vile and disgusting things they said to each other. Things the children should not have heard. There was a physical fight at the villa. Then 3 days later a public brawl on the street and the police were nearly called. We were in shock! Saddened to the core. Then to top it all on the last day of our nightmare holiday when we were all packing and I was crying in the shower, one made another vile comment and the other one was running through the house screaming like a woman possessed. She broke a door and smashed a picture. My husband was not there at this point. I had to call the owners and pay the damage. They were so lovely to me about it all and eased my shame. Once again all in front of the 6 grandchildren who were all crying. Until then we were so very close. My husband and I cannot believe what has happened. They said they are dead to each other. My heart is broken. I haven’t told my son as he is on holiday. My other daughter who is about to have her 3rd ivf treatment is disgusted and I need to be strong for her now. But the pain I feel when I think about what happened is overbearing and my husband is so sad. It’s all a mess. So to anyone out there who feels the pain I feel you are not alone. We are good parents and our children had a lovely childhood. We can’t control adults. They are responsible for their actions not us. I cling to the fact that they are all alive and healthy. It’s the only thought that keeps me going. Our whole lives will be different now and I have to adapt. So very sad😢
I am not the parent, but the older sister. My brother and sister have not spoke or been in the same room for over four years. This is killing my parents. I have tried to explain to them what they are doing to all of us. Now they are not speaking to me. My parents won’t tell my brother how much he has hurt my sister because they want to see their grandkids. But they have no problem telling my sister to talk to him and make up. Even though we all know who is wrong in the fight.
Or tell them they are childish, inconsiderate, rotten people and you are sick and tired of dealing with their ignorant, petty bickering. That they are grown and you’re fed up with it after 20 or more years.
My husband and I have 4 children.3 are biologically ours and our youngest is my husband’s sister’s son.
We have 3 sons and 1 daughter. The problem is that my second oldest son, and my daughter whom are 3 years apart, do not get along. I thought for a long time, that it was because they are so alike and very opinionated, however I’ve recently began to notice that my son puts me down, in certain ways, and the same way he puts his sister down.
My son is very much a mummy’s boy, as in, he calls for chats all the time, which I and my husband really love. For some reason he feels the need to constantly put his sister down when ever we spend time together as a family. He and his sister used to try and push each other off my lap, so they could be on there, and I see this type of behaviour throughout their adult lives. They are now both in their 30’s and my husband and I are are completely at a loss, as to how to stop this from continuing. So much so, that after our last family gathering, a wedding and 3 birthdays falling in the same week, he sobbed his heart out as we headed to the airport. He is completely heart broken that they do not get along, and it breaks my heart to see him so distraught.
He’s at the point now, that he doesn’t want family gatherings anymore, because of the tension, bickering and judgemental behaviour.
We simply adore our children and have tried to raise them close to each other, but we feel like we have failed.
I also feel that we spend so much time keeping the other two from arguing, that we don’t spend enough quality time with our oldest son and his family.
we don’t want our family to be like our family’s of origin. We thought we raised them differently. We are intelligent, educated, loving parents who have provided a good life for our children.
So why can’t they just get along? Where did we go wrong?
Thanks for sharing your current situation, Susan. I’m sorry to hear this has been so tough for you and your husband.
I realize this sibling fighting is now the normal. No wonder my younger sister with four kids disowned me, I’m the older sis by three years who couldn’t have kids but wanted them just as much. Obviously 🙄 not my sisters fault even though she said I could have an egg (obviously on my dime and if she wanted to proceed and apparently she never wanted to and I totally understand ) then said she hit menopause at 34 but just had two more kids at 38. It has been the cruelest behavior with sending her friends my address for sprinkle parties. Then not understanding the pain of infertility and our father with pancreatic cancer. I guess bc I don’t have kids but autoimmune disease and had my thymus removed over myasthenia Gravis I’m the one to pick my sick father up from all these pancreatic surgeries. I was there when he got his port, chemo, on ventilators twice in 2020. Been there for my father, but I’m removed from a so called estate. The family drama with puppet master mommy and “grandkid galore sister”…I don’t serve a purpose unless someone needs something and my mother promises to visit me who lives 45 minutes away but pays her Uber driver to drive her to Daytona (2 hours) and my sister picks her up and they go back to Jacksonville..I guess I further don’t understand why I can’t be part of sisters family. I got to meet one child out of four. Bday party 20 minutes away but I wasn’t allowed bc my mommy was angry with me that day. I think the best advice is to run and never stop running from your mom and your baby making sister bc the heartache never ends. Better than me bc of kids. Wow
My heart is broken and I do not know what to do. My adult daughters are now not talking to each other. This rift goes back to childhood. The youngest brings up things from then. The older one feels righteous like she has been nothing but loving and inclusive but in reality she has always been critical of her younger sister. The younger sister decided not be around the older one and her family at the holidays because she says her older sister ruined her sons birthday party by getting angry for the younger one correcting her daughter. I know this has been brewing for ages but have been powerless to change any of it. I love them both with all my heart and want them to let their kids have time together. But now every is separate. The youngest sent the older one a text message that was hurtful. They have both been hurt by each other. My birthday is in August and I am thinking of telling both I want a truce. I just want to be able to have my family together without feel this hateful separation. Any suggestions?
The first sentence of your comment is exactly how I feel and your situation is very similar only I have 6 kids. They keep taking sides with one or the other and feed the anger and hurt of each other. Every instinct in me wants to fix it and make it stop but every effort I’ve made seems to just make things worse. There should be a support group for parents like us, I get feeling like I’m the only parent hurting from this and that I’ve failed as a mom. My children are between 35-50 and only one has stayed neutral. I can tell that they each have deep-seated issues and hurt from years ago that the recent fight just brings them all up again. They are so very critical of each other. This has gone on for 7 months now with no end in sight and I’m still heartbroken and cry nearly everyday about it and doing nothing is so hard! Did you find anything that works?
What ever happened? I have problems with my daughters fighting and it is all over wedding dates. Both are engaged and the younger one wants to have her wedding before the older one which made the older one mad, but she is also mad because the younger one made the date on a weekend she goes to a music festival every year. I think this is ridiculous. They started ignoring each other, and my husband got upset at the older one, and of course she blew up and said she never wanted to see any of us ever again. In the last week we made up with the older one, but the daughters aren’t talking, and meanwhile I am so sad about it.
My sister and aunt gets on my case for being mean my mom tells them to stop because i am not their concern my sister thinks she can rule me she calls me a brat
Hi Jackie. Thanks for your comment. Feel free to share this article with your family!
I am not the parent reading this, but the adult daughter who found this article because I fight so much with my sister. We are fraternal twins, 20 years old. I perfectly agree with this article especially the financial part and parting-up during fight part. And I think growing separate relationships is a good idea since my mom and my twin and I are so intertwined emotionally and everything and the result isn’t good.
Reading various articles, I think having jealousy towards each other is a fundamental reason in the serious fights that continue up to adulthood. As fraternal twins, we were constantly compared very explicitely and straightforwardly by our family members and friends and strangers. This comparison is so cruel. They usually comment things on appearance and accomplishments, like “Hey you are prettier” “How come she went to a better university?” “How come you guys are twins but she is much slimmer?”. My twin and I have been constantly compared like this and we feel awful being compared, either we get the compliment or get compared in a bad way. We feel sorry for each other either way. These comparisons built rivalry and hatred and envy towards each other on such things (attractiveness and accomplishments).
I hope people do not compare siblings in ANY way. Just do not make any remarks about differences. It is a common sense that we are different. Why point it out? Why say it out loud? I hope people get it into common sense that everybody is so different, even twins, especially fraternal twins because we are genetically not alike AT ALL.
Thanks for the article. It is helpful in understanding the situation I am in now. I hope my twin sister and I fight less often and get over the hurts in our past of being compared and favored by different people on different things. She is my bestfriend and my worst enemy when we fight.
Hi Hope, thanks for reading and sharing your story.
My grown kids are 31 & 32. They got along in the early years. Teen years started the turmoil. When my husband died when they were in high school, there was a brief truce. Now that my son is having a son (name sake of seven generations) he and his wife decided to use a middle name nickname b/c her family doesn’t like the family name. Problem is the nickname they are using is the name my daughter wants to use to honor her father’s memory when she has children. She’s been telling me for 13 years this is what she planned to do. Her brother says too bad. I’m caught in the middle and want to cancel all holiday plans because it’s going to be awkward. What to do? I’m the only one just sick over this. HELP
The one with the first living child gets to name the child whatever they want. Your daughter can still name her child whatever she wants. They both need to stop fighting over such a silly thing and stop hurting you their mother with their nonsense. There can be two Michael’s or whatever. In most cases the boys will have different last names. Guess what else the kids won’t care one little bit.
Why would the son using the name prevent the daughter from also using it? I suppose having two grandsons with the same name might give moments of confusion, but since they presumably have different surnames the family can tag the first name with the initial of the surname (as a for instance) to distinguish which young one is being referred to.
My first cousin and I are 2 years apart and have identical first and middle names. We are both now Senior Citizens. We solved it as children by being called Junior and Senior. When we started dating, we were called Bob’s Ellen and Stan’s Ellen. The rest of the family still calls us by either of those names. Really never a problem.
I am divorced my children have different options about their father, that normally start a fight. They are 40 and 39 with their own families. Can I just distance myself?
BEST WAY FOR US IS TO LEAVE AND WHEN YOU WANT TO BE A FAMILY LET US KNOW AND WE WILL COME HOME
My sons are 10 years apart in age. #1 son served in the AF for ten years, lost his father when he was still serving. He is a son from different father. My #2 son is like an only child because siblings have left home. Oldest son has two children an is a single parent. Now a RN and works, owns home, and is responsible. Youngest son still lives with us. Although he has a BS in mass communications he has yet to find a full time job. He tried living with his brother but that’s where their relationship went sour. This is why youngest came back home. No full time job not able to pay for apartment yet. So now the boys(men) do not talk anymore..oldest thinks the youngest is spoiled and should be out on his own. This has my heart split into….
Make sure you are providing your older child with as much support love and attention as you do your dependent one. Never complain about the dependent one to the independent one. Do you enjoy having your adult child at home? Does he contribute? If so then explain this to the independent one. If not ask yourself if you are really helping the dependent one. Your husband and you need to decide together if you want your dependent adult child in your home. You two must decide what you want in your home. Remember to be a functioning adult everyone must contribute once they are an adult