Keeping Siblings Civil During Stressful Times

Even the most solid sibling dynamic can erupt into arguments when it comes to the health and welfare of beloved parents who are beginning to show signs of frailty.

You: “Hey. Mom and Dad fell twice; why don’t we hire a helper each day?”

Your sister: “Nah, they’re OK — you’re hyper.”

Your brother: “The doctor says they are fine. So what — you’re our expert now?”


Mom couldn’t find her cell phone to call us! Me hyper? If something BAD happens, it’s your fault!”

Siblings duking it out without parental input can result in complete caregiving failure. On the other hand, wise families collaborate without meltdowns or muzzling each other.

Three Smart ABC Steps to Building a Family Dream Team

1. ATTITUDE. Switch negative thoughts into positive language and behaviors.

Tip: Perceptive families tactfully welcome and value new ideas. They are patient and kind regarding each other’s opinions and suggestions.

2. BRAINSTORMING. Tough topics require discussion: financing caregiving, selling vs. renting the family home, dividing assets, sharing caregiving responsibilities. Savvy families form judgment-free zones where everyone is protected from criticism when they voice their suggestions. They must also be understanding when their ideas are not accepted by all.

Tip: Circulate a “WHAT IF?” list to gather ideas and suggestions from everyone in order to give all time to think about them in depth rather than responding quickly with an emotional outburst.

3. COMMAND CENTRAL. Akamai families prepare ahead by finding out their parents’ wishes instead of guessing in order to carry out their desires. They prepare for financial outcomes, and have easy access to advanced directives and wills. Clarity saves time and money.

Tip: Gather documents in a binder to serve as a treasure trove of parents’ wishes and resources that everyone can refer to. This paves a smooth road ahead by avoiding unwanted potholes and excess stress at an already stressful time.

Family Caregiver Coach and Life Transition Advisor
808-372-3478 |
Annette Pang offers workshops, online training and one-to-one private life coaching. She has owned two adult residential care homes since 2000. She adores her four siblings and her husband’s four siblings—all smart and kind.


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