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  1. #1
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    Default Dealing with difficult parents

    Sorry for the long post.

    i am having some issues with my parents. I love them and they have always been good to me but lately I am feeling quite frustrated with them and not sure how to handle.

    Mum & dad are in early 60s, both still working. They have always struggled financially, I think because my dad's building business goes through really quiet periods where he earns nothing at all, and mum is a hairdresser and works for very little. she has also worked for some dodgy companies that have never paid her super etc. They've been in their respective professions since they were 15, both very traditional in their values and beliefs, neither have much business sense, are uneducated, no interest in technology (mum can't even read her emails without help, insists I print out photos of DS rather than email or text her as she can't figure out texting either).

    Anyway, they've been doing it tough lately and I can see it's taking its toll on their health and their relationship. They won't take advice, won't listen or be open to suggestion. They treat my brother and I (both in our 30s) like children despite the fact we're both doing much better than they have ever done (financially speaking). They hide things from us (like I found out through a family friend that mum has high BP and has been seeing GP a lot, and recently they put their house of 18 years on the market without mentioning it). When questioned they act like we're too young to understand, they know better, etc and sometimes come across like they are bitter because we earn more money. I feel like I have done something wrong by working hard and being successful (not that we are by any means rich or anything).

    To make matters worse because of all this my mum is refusing to discuss Christmas plans, SIL and I tried to make it easy by suggesting we eat out this Christmas, thus reducing stress and allowing us to spend time together as a family rather than running around like headless chooks all day. My mum bawked at the suggestion and asked please don't organise anything, it's just another day don't make a big deal of it. Sorry mum, but our children think it's a huge day and we all think it should be celebrated with family! I hosted Christmas for 18 last year, despite having a miscarriage a week earlier, and I really don't want to host again as I will be 30+ wks pregnant and not in a mood for any fuss.

    Anyway not sure what my point is exactly but what should i do? I don't want to add any unnecessary stress by making a scene but I'm on the edge. Is this what parents do when they get old?! Also worried about them breaking up or having a heart attack or something, the tension between them is enormous.

  2. #2
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    Can you talk to your dad? I find that although I could never talk to my dad before, after I turned 30 he became very easy and rational to talk to, much more than mum.

    Perhaps he can help you understand what's happening?

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    Quote Originally Posted by misho View Post
    Can you talk to your dad? I find that although I could never talk to my dad before, after I turned 30 he became very easy and rational to talk to, much more than mum.

    Perhaps he can help you understand what's happening?
    Thanks for the reply. I can try, but dad is a man of few words at the best of times. Conversations with him are like drawing blood from a stone...

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    I don't blame them for not wanting to eat out, it's ridiculously expensive on Christmas Day!! My parents are struggling for money but even they refused to eat out xmas day.

    They are clearly proud people. If you love them, play along and pretend like you don't know they're broke, but do everything you can to help them. Like not pushing Christmas. Just say you will do a quiet one and if they want to pop around for lunch they can. They probably can't afford presents for your kids and don't want it to get awkward.

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    This is a really hard situation to be in. On one hand they are adults, capable of making their own decisions which they don't have to divulge to you, whether you like it or not. On the other hand being their daughter, naturally you worry and want to be kept up to date with their life, so it's perfectly ok to feel like they should be communicating better with you.

    My mum and step dad are making some very poor financial decisions at the moment and with limiting working life left, we are all worrying a lot about their lack of super and being able to support themselves to a decent standard when they retire. It has caused some massive arguments and we've had to accept that they're going to do what they want, regardless of what the rest of us think.

    Re Christmas, do you think they don't want to go out or do Xmas because of the cost? Dining out Christmas Day can be quite expensive (Christmas in general) - maybe that why it's being played down by your mum? Just a thought.

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    I agree with Wise Enough.

    As for them not telling you about certain things going on with them...they really don't have to. As you said, you are an adult...with your own life. Your parents are adults with their own. Not everything needs to be shared.

    I think you need to let them deal with their problems how they see fit...even if you don't like it or are worried. You can let them know you're there for support, but you can't really do more than that. They have to work things out themselves.

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    Why not instead of the eating out suggestion try a bring a plate suggestion and keeping xmas to immediate family (you said you hosted 18 last year thats a lotta people).
    Perhaps they might go along with a more low key approach.

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    I don't have much advice unfortunately but I do have sympathy as your parents sound very much like my parents. They have always struggled financially too. My dad has been very ill and recently had two heart attacks in 6 months. He can no longer work so my mum is the provider at the moment. My brothers and I are trying to get them to sell their home and make a sea change. My dad is all for it but my mum is stubborn and wont budge.

    Maybe you could just organise christmas without them? If your mum really doesn't want to participate then you and your family shouldn't miss out. Chances are if you organised it they may come anyway through fear of missing out.

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    Not keen to host Christmas again. DH is completely against it too. Even if it were just snacks on a plate. We were never expecting them to pay for lunch and had also suggested no presents this year so it's not the cost. And tbh we spent far more hosting Christmas last year than we would if we pay $80 a head going out (which is what it costs, kids free). I would easily spend over $1K on food, drinks and presents each Christmas. Going out is cheap in comparison.

    It's hard because DH is threatening we do Christmas without them but that puts me in an awkward situation, I would hate for my parents to spend Christmas alone, I just don't think that is right. I know what they are like too, the week before Christmas mum will suddenly want to take over and organise everything, she can't help herself. SIL and bro live far away and it's not practical to have it at theirs.
    DH family are having xmas interstate and we would go down but that is a $2K + trip we could do without, and I have to work leading up to and after xmas.

    It's not like m & d are in dire straits- they play golf 3 x per week and that's not a cheap hobby. Not that I think they should give it up, but putting it into perspective. I think mum is just upset because selling the house & downsizing is the only logical option and dad has not been proactive in finding work. I don't mind they don't talk to me about everything, just thought selling our family home of 18 years was kind of worth mentioning...

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    Quote Originally Posted by RmumR View Post
    Why not instead of the eating out suggestion try a bring a plate suggestion and keeping xmas to immediate family (you said you hosted 18 last year thats a lotta people).
    Perhaps they might go along with a more low key approach.
    18 people was immediate family... But this year DH family is interstate. Wishing we went too now!


 

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