Friday, December 15, 2017

Survival Guide to Awkward Holiday Conversations

From CaregiverStress:
It’s not uncommon for one sibling to provide much more caregiving to a parent than the other children. Still, this situation can cause resentment among brothers and sisters. And while speaking up to ask for help is a good strategy for eliciting help from others, it may not be as easy as it sounds. Maybe your sibling history has been rocky. Or maybe you’ve asked many times before to no avail but feel you need to bring the topic up again.

Before you choose a holiday gathering to broach such a conversation, however, ask yourself if this is really the right time and place. Holiday get-togethers often create stress for the participants simply due to the family dynamics involved. Is it wise to potentially add to that stress by approaching a sibling about your parents’ caregiving needs? If you do decide the annual family holiday party is the best place for you to have the conversation, consider these tips:
  • Keep alcohol out of the mix. Sure, a glass or two of wine may loosen your inhibitions and give you the courage to approach your sister about providing more caregiving support, but alcohol rarely facilitates civil conversation. It may be best to have this talk while everyone is sober.
  • Don’t be confrontational. Instead of attacking your sister for not doing enough to help with Mom, try confiding your own struggles. Tell your sister how difficult and time-consuming it is for you to take care of Mom, and express how grateful you would be for even a small amount of help. Be specific in your request. It’s OK to say, “Would you be willing to have Mom stay over a weekend each month?”
  • Stay calm. If your sibling rebuffs your appeal, don’t get angry or emotional. Try to leave the door open to future communication by accepting your sister’s response and changing the subject. Then approach another time, maybe a few weeks down the road. You could use the technique of asking three times, in three different ways, to try to turn your sibling’s “no” into a “yes.”
(Read more.)

No comments: