Mark and Vicky Hadley’s adult son and daughter can’t stand each other. They didn’t get along as youngsters, and the crack between them has only widened over the years. Not only does this make the Hadleys sad, it makes family get-togethers impossible and prevents the grandchildren from bonding with their cousins.
--Should the Hadleys bow to reality and visit with the two families separately?
--Should they insist that everyone suck it up on big occasions because it’s important to them to have the whole family together at those times?
--Should they play devil’s advocate when one sibling complains about the other?
--Should they offer to fund a mediator to get the situation resolved?
The Panel Weighs In
Regina: I go with number one: Mark and Vicky should see the families separately so they can enjoy them tension-free.
John: No, absolutely not! A couple of times a year those kids can declare a truce in deference to their parents’ wishes.
Andie: I like the mediator idea. If there’s a chance the situation can be improved, why not take it? I believe people have the capacity to change, and the rewards of a better adult family life are well worth the gamble.
Julie: I don’t know where I stand on all this except for the siblings’ complaining about each other. The parents not only should not play devil’s advocate, they shouldn’t even listen to the complaints. It only upsets them and lends credence to the kids’ petty peeves.
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