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  1. #11
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    I would think that they probably don't want to talk about it because they don't want you to worry.
    Last year we had Xmas in the park, it was a low key BBQ and everyone brought something. It wasn't what I ever thought I would want to do at Xmas but it was probably the best Xmas I have had. We all brought a game and had a sing along and popped Xmas crackers. Then we had kk's where there was a $50 limit.
    It was easy, fun and cheap. We still had yummy Xmas food and at the end, no one had to clean up!
    Just a suggestion.
    Good luck with it all

  2. #12
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    I agree with what others have said, maybe they're not wanting to worry you about things?

    Could it also be that they're embarrassed to admit & discuss that they're having financial difficulties? Especially if they're fairly proud people.

    They may not want to eat out on Christmas not because they don't want too but maybe because they can't afford it but don't want to say that as everyone else seems to be able to afford it? I know Christmas is super expensive as it is. Is your Mum usually ok to talk to on her own or is she normally fairly guarded? It can be so hard when it comes to things like this with parents.

    I hope it all works out & you all have a lovely Christmas

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  4. #13
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    It sounds to me as though they are embarrassed about their financial affairs. If you have offered to help and they don't want it than there is nothing else you can do. Just butt out of it. It also sounds as though they don't want to be around you guys at Xmas as they are stressed and embarrassed about finances and selling the house and thinking about Xmas is just too stressful .

    If you are dead against hosting I would invite all remaining family members to a picnic or BBQ in the park. Cheap and stress free, hopefully they come but if they don't at least you tried.

  5. #14
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    Thanks for all the replies. It's a complex situation and one I don't think will be fixed overnight. Christmas is just one hurdle, there are lots of other little issues constantly going on.

    I can see what's going to happen here. Either they relent and agree to come out for a low key, Christmas lunch (paid for by us in leau of a Christmas gift) or I will end up hosting again by default and stressed to the eyeballs about keeping everyone happy (and spending yet another xmas in the kitchen - this will happen regardless of where we eat, at home, in a park - food still needs prepping and cooking). Had another chat to DH who is quite furious about it all. We still think eating out is the cheapest and least stressful option especially given my parents could well be out of their house by then. Booking something now just takes the stress out - it's all done, doesn't matter what happens between now & then and it's one less thing to have to think about.
    I'll have another chat to mum about what exactly she has against Christmas lunch out. There could be something I am missing. I just need to her speak to me like an adult instead of rolling her eyes at me and whining about what a crap idea it is.

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    Default Dealing with difficult parents

    I understand the desire to get things sorted as soon as possible - we're very similar in that regard. However as an independent eye my advice is to step back, relax a little and not try and control so much. Your parents don't owe you anything with regards to their finances and if I was in their position I wouldn't be telling my kids about my troubles either. As for Christmas don't give a demand - your way or the highway. Just say you're not hosting this year, suggest eating out it having it at your parents with everyone brining a plate, and then let everyone think about it. Don't demand an answer right away as that will just rub people the wrong way. Start panicking early December if you havent heard anything.
    Last edited by VicPark; 20-10-2015 at 20:39.

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  8. #16
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    It's there financial affairs. My parents too aren't the best with money but still always manage. Your mum and dad both seem to be in good lines of work. Your mum if she wanted to could always do clients from home etc but she doesn't want too. Let them be.

    My parents sold there property recently and just rent now because they wanted more money to retire with not everyone needs a large home etc esp when getting older

  9. #17
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    I think that 'furious' may be an over reaction. It sounds like they're going through a tough time so I'd be giving them a bit of space and understanding. That said, the fact that they don't want to make a big deal about Christmas doesn't mean that you can't do what you would like. If you want to go out for Christmas, then book something and do that. You can invite them, let them know that you would love them to come and you'll pay as a Christmas treat and then leave it at that. If they decline, then they've made their choice. Perhaps invite them round for a cup of tea and croissants for breakfast instead so the kids get to see them if that's important to you.

    It doesn't have to be a drama. I know family stuff can get complex very quickly because there are lots of emotions that come out, but try to relax a bit about it and stand back.

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  11. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuppet View Post
    I think that 'furious' may be an over reaction. It sounds like they're going through a tough time so I'd be giving them a bit of space and understanding. That said, the fact that they don't want to make a big deal about Christmas doesn't mean that you can't do what you would like. If you want to go out for Christmas, then book something and do that. You can invite them, let them know that you would love them to come and you'll pay as a Christmas treat and then leave it at that. If they decline, then they've made their choice. Perhaps invite them round for a cup of tea and croissants for breakfast instead so the kids get to see them if that's important to you.

    It doesn't have to be a drama. I know family stuff can get complex very quickly because there are lots of emotions that come out, but try to relax a bit about it and stand back.
    Thanks yeah am going to have one more chat to them and put the offer out there. If they are still being funny about it and really don't want to do anything like others have said there isn't anything I can do to change that and I will have to get used to the idea of not having them around xmas day. It's not something that is normal for me, we've always had big family celebrations for as long as I can remember. We have some close friends in a similar situation so might end up going out with them. Of course u will feel guilty that my parents are spending it alone but if that is their decision then I need to let go. Sad for my DS more than anything.

  12. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by monnie24 View Post
    It's there financial affairs. My parents too aren't the best with money but still always manage. Your mum and dad both seem to be in good lines of work. Your mum if she wanted to could always do clients from home etc but she doesn't want too. Let them be.

    My parents sold there property recently and just rent now because they wanted more money to retire with not everyone needs a large home etc esp when getting older
    Thanks, yeah totally get the downsizing. And I am not against them doing it, happy to support them in their decisions.

    It's hard to explain but I found out about the sell in a weird way, and when I questioned mum she acted like I should have somehow figured it out... It was strange and they had just had us over for a family bbq the week before but not said a thing. My mum especially plays these weird mind games and uses guilt trips but it's just getting worse with age. I fear we're drifting apart and it's not what I want as they get older. Just so frustrated and a little heart broken.

  13. #20
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    Default Dealing with difficult parents

    coming into the thread a bit late but anyway. re not mentioning personal things going on, I'd feel the same as you. I've noticed my parents of late not exactly hiding, but downplaying medical things to a certain degree. they'll eventually tell us, but it's usually after some time has passed and they feel it's a bit more under control. tbh they prob don't want to bother/worry you about it unnecessarily. that's how I take it when my parents tell me things belatedly. also, maybe they just want to sit on the info and process it for themselves? I know with me and my medical stuff, it's very personal and I often don't tell anyone things unless I feel I have a good handle over it and am comfortable. I just feel I don't want people fussing and getting worked up unnecessarily as that increases my anxiety over the issue. if your mum is seeing her gp lots then at least you can assume it's under control/in the hands of a medical professional? a bit crap you find this out via a family friend that she's felt she can confide in, but I'd say she just didn't want your brother and you worrying unnecessarily over it.

    re Christmas, it definitely sounds as though they're concerned about costs and want to keep it low key this year. why don't you and your brother offer to pay for their share of the meals on the day? it would ease their burden of unwanted extra costs and it could be your Xmas gift each to them? that way there'd be no pressure of added Xmas gifts etc. re Xmas gifts as well, why not just do a KK for all the adults attending Xmas lunch? we've started doing that in our family as buying gifts for 10+ adults at $50-$100 a pop is getting too expensive. plus my dad retired last year so my parents have been keen to cut back on unwanted extra costs too. we've started doing a $50 Kris Kringle (you could cap it at less to suit everyone's budgets though) and the only gifts we now buy specially are for the kids. Xmas is mostly for/about the kids anyway so why add unwanted stress and costs by complicating it with silly adult presents? if you and dh want to do a gift between yourselves you could exchange those on Xmas eve or after lunch once you're alone. that way, your mum and dad just have to show up to the venue for a free feed, you all do a KK so each adult gets a gift/it still feels christmassy but nobody is wildly out of pocket. also cuts down on Xmas shopping and organizing/hosting for you given you'll be 30 weeks pregnant.

    I honestly think that's the best solution.

    as far as resolving your parents tension, I don't think anyone except them can do that. it sounds as though at that age, they'll be very set in their ways (as anyone's parents are) and prob won't listen to you and your brother. my mum is a bit more open with us and will confide/complain about their home life/stuff going on and I am able to offer a bit of practical advice. much of it falls on deaf ears but some they take on. I think it's prob hard for aged parents (particularly traditional ones) to open up and confide in their kids. they probably feel it's their role as the parents to remain strong and present a front that everything is ok, even when it's not. maybe they feel like confiding in you guys is admitting defeat/that they're wrong, and they're just not ready to let you guys see them in what they feel is a position of weakness. as a PP said, they're obviously very proud people.

    are they on/qualify for any centrelink assistance? dh's mum is in her early 60s and very transiently employed. she can't do anything except admin work and due to lack of education/skills, finds herself at the mercy of bullies/unscrupulous employers. she's also in chronic pain and finding it increasingly difficult to remain self sufficient, look for work etc. dh and I keep urging her to be a bit more aggressive with centrelink and get some benefits to make her life a bit easier. it's like butting your head against a concrete wall. it's really frustrating and annoying but there's only so much us adult kids can do. end of the day, they'll do as they wish and it's up to everyone else to kind of stand by and watch the fall out, as hard and unfortunate as that is. I hope things pick up again for them and they're able to get through this rough patch xx
    Last edited by turquoisecoast; 22-10-2015 at 08:04.

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