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Is my sister trying to control everything realating to our ageing parents!

Tagged as: Big Questions, Family, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (11 August 2017) 4 Answers - (Newest, 12 August 2017)
A female Australia age 41-50, anonymous writes:

Is this my younger sisters way of being in control of things, ie about my ageing parents?

Im the oldest

Younger bro and sis who have families, I have noone, no family or partner

Parents are 70 and 74, active and ok health, live independantly.

My sis lives in same state and town as parents.

Bro and I live in different state and see sis and parents 2 times year.

She sees them a lot of course!

Mother turned 70 recently and sister "took charge" arrangeing a big bunch of flowers today from her, our bro and me.. insisting she pay for it all!

She wont accept money.. saying "dont worry about money"

She is not the only child! The flowers were from all 3 of us and it will say so on card

Cannot help but feel she wants control, and as parents age feel this will get worse, ie "Ive got it, dont worry"'

My sister is a control freak and wont compromise, refusing money and set in her ways.

I do not want "control" ! But if the flowers are from all 3 of us we should all pay money!

Not just her, if the flowers were from her it is different!

Yes it was nice of her but I want to put in money too and she

Wont let me!

I fear when my parents become older and die she will take over.

View related questions: flowers, money

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (12 August 2017):

Honeypie agony auntJust send flowers from YOU? That you have paid for. Same with presents, send them DIRECTLY to your parents.

Does it mean she wants to take control? No necessarily. She might want to stand out as the SUPER caring child compared to you and your brother. Make herself look "just" a little better.

My brother sees my dad 1-2 times a month (they live 5 minutes from each other and well, I live across the Atlantic) - guess what? I call my dad once a week, my brother hardly ever calls unless he needs our dad to watch his dog. Do I think I'm better than my brother or vice verse? nope. We just do what we CAN do.

Parents do understand that sometimes you can't be around as much as you might want to be.

As for the flowers... if she is putting all 3 names on it and also pays for it, OK... Doesn't mean you can't send a bucket or "whatnot" just from you.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (11 August 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt Why does it necessarily have to be about control ? Why having necessarily to put a negative spin on a kind gesture ?

Yes, it is possible that your younger sister, living closer and seeing your parents much more often than you siblings, has got into a rather " hands on " approach for stuff in reference to your parents. I'd say that it sort of comes natural and it is a more practical approach than a volley of back and forth phone conversations about any minor detail like the purchase of a bunch of flowers !. Personally, I think that it would have been much worse, and it would have irritated ME no end, if she had bought her big bunch of flowers, of her own initiative, and THEN she had demanded one third of the cost from you ! THAT would have been inappropriate - but , sparing your siblings money , time and effort is wrong because ......?

I think your sister has been nice , and the intention is kond . I guess that, not knowing if and when you were able to bring over a present, she wanted to make sure that at least your mom had something from all 3 of you siblings.

If you make a point of either giving mom a personal gift, or being personally involved in the purchase, well, why didn't you ?

You could have sent your own bunch of flowers or other gift with reasonable advance. Or, you could have called your sister to tell her " Hey, what shall we buy this year for our mom ? Let's decide TOGETHER and let's share the cost ".

Pardon me but I think it is a bit too easy do nothing about X situation , and then complain because other people did something ( without costing you a penny ).

Anyway, all this is easily correctable :

- you can bring mom a box of chocolates or some other thing , and tell her : " The flowers are from all of us, but I just wanted you to have a little something specially from me ".

AND / OR : take your sister out for lunch or dinner . Or buy her a T-shirt or a lipstick or something that she would like and tell her " I have seen this and I thought this would be perfect for you ". So- she won't take cash, but still you would be " even " both on amount spent for the other and in kindness.

In your shoes, I would also try to relax about "control" issues. Like I said, it is quite possible that, being local, your sister has developped a bit of a tendency to intervene in your parents' life , with or without your approval. This must have its positive sides too, though. I guess that when your parents have a cold and cannot go grocery shopping, or have trouble starting their car, or suspect there's a mouse in the basement, or just want to rant about bad service at the bank or the store... they'll call HER, not you or bro who live at a distance and show up twice a year. Sis' "controlling" ways are a bonus for you in terms of free time and convenience. Beware of what you wish because it may come true. Suppose that in then years, when your parents will be older and frailer and needier, your sis should say " Enough ! I relinquish " control" . Now YOU guys take your butt over here and take control- it's your turn "

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia + , writes (11 August 2017):

Aunty BimBim agony auntYour sister may be trying to take control or she may already have it. If you attempt to talk to your parents about it they might listen or they might decide to brush your concerns aside to maintain the status quo.

The fact your sister is insisting on paying for a gift that will be from you would also be giving me the tom tits.

Is there something you KNOW your mother would like, or use that you can get for her from you and paid for by you? My mother was a keen gardener so twice I ordered and paid for bags of garden manure .... and loads of wood for the fireplace.

Buy your own gift and take it to her with a card signed by you .... a potted plant or chocolates or a subscription to her favourite magazine might also be appreciated, or some cash vouchers from local stores.

If Mum says oh but I already had the flowers you can say "yes, but sister chose and paid for those and I wanted to give you something from ME"

I hope the situation improves but with a controlling sister living close by it could get worse. I speak from personal experience.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (11 August 2017):

IfThis is poster.

IF I send money via postal service/mail she will likely send it back!

I dont have her bank details to transfer money electronically

I like and mostly get along ok with sister (though I dont see her often)

But she likes control and can get snappy or not cooperative or aloof if she doesnt have it

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