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Old 12-20-2007, 11:19 AM   #41
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So how would you deal with the situation if you learned your brother was getting all kinds of support from your parents?
Like a grown-up? You are only dealt one family in life. Whether they are fair or not, that's what you've got. You can't MAKE people change (believe me, they just won't).

Unless you would prefer totally eliminating them from your life, and from your childrens' lives forever, I think it's best to just accept things as they are (fair or not), and get whatever good you can from the relationship.

Any middle ground (other than moving 3000 miles away and making up reasons not to visit) will just lead to bad feelings and misery all around. So, I'd say that a stiff upper lip, kindness, self control, and maturity are in order.

And don't think I don't sympathize. This kind of situation really sux.
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:28 AM   #42
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My first thought was along the lines that perhaps your parents feel the brother needs more help than you do, or have more faith in your ability to make do on your own.

My second thought was that perhaps your brother has given more to your parents, and they're giving more in return.

Lastly, maybe they just like him better.

I dont have more than one kid, and likely never will, so I get to duck this problem.

Seems to me that in all relationships, there are varying levels of like and dislike. While we're like to think that a parent can truly love all their children equally and treat them with an even hand from birth to death...it aint gonna work that way.

"Fair" is a fantasy.
I think my situation is little of everything you've mentioned. My brother has needed more help, my parents are very confident that I can take care of my family and yes, I suppose it's possible that they may like my brother more than me.

Maybe the answer to my situation is to believe that part of being a mature adult is not expecting "fairness" from my parents at this stage of life. (as an aside, my daughter has a friend who counts how many xmas presents are under the tree for her and her 4 sibling each year and reports the tally daily this time of year. When she's being shorted, she let's everyone know!) As adults, we should understand that parents will treat their kids as individuals with varying needs and who cares if they give more time, energy or financial support to one kid versus another.

Now if I can just get that to sink in...
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:43 AM   #43
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[quote=boilerman;591326

So how would you deal with the situation if you learned your brother was getting all kinds of support from your parents?[/quote]


I'd ignore it .At some point worrying about what your parents do or don't do is just plain silly !
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:55 AM   #44
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I'd rather see my parents enjoy their own money. They've worked for it.
Agreed! My folks are gone now. And DW only has her elderly mom who we help financially, so our days of wondering if siblings were "getting more" than us are long gone. But in years past, when everyone was alive and doing OK financially, a key goal for us was to not need/want money from the folks so that the folks could enjoy it themselves.
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:07 PM   #45
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Truth is that growing up, my parents were very fair and gave all 3 kids the same opportunities. It wasn't until we all grew up that the inequities started.
I have spoken to them at length but they mostly deny any favoritism or say that they provide time and support to my brother's family because they need it. That's why my original post, to see how others have dealt with similar situations.
Sorry for my confusion. I experienced inequities before I was an adult, and it took me many years to deal with it successfully. My solution: don't take it personally. Easy to say, hard to do, but I sure do feel better now I've done it.
One of my favorite sayings is, "You're not an adult until you forgive your parents."
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:23 PM   #46
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Here's my two cents. Parents can choose to spend their time and money however they want to even if it may not be fair to their other children. There may be other factors why your parents seem to favor one sibling over another such as, that child being far more caring and kind to their parents and probably generally having a better relationship with them. I can think of many situations in which the shoe is on other foot - sometimes you can have several children and only one child is there to provide help for you in your old age. How about that situation? Should this child then say, well I would not do it because my parents have several children and since they are not pitching in, then I would not do anything for them. Life is not cut and dry.
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:53 PM   #47
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Sorry for my confusion. I experienced inequities before I was an adult, and it took me many years to deal with it successfully. My solution: don't take it personally. Easy to say, hard to do, but I sure do feel better now I've done it.
One of my favorite sayings is, "You're not an adult until you forgive your parents."
So did I, but it was due to internal family dynamics, namely, my mom died, dad remarried two years later and had a child, and their energies were redirected to the "new kid" versus us "old kids".........
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:05 PM   #48
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I think my situation is little of everything you've mentioned. My brother has needed more help, my parents are very confident that I can take care of my family and yes, I suppose it's possible that they may like my brother more than me.

Maybe the answer to my situation is to believe that part of being a mature adult is not expecting "fairness" from my parents at this stage of life. (as an aside, my daughter has a friend who counts how many xmas presents are under the tree for her and her 4 sibling each year and reports the tally daily this time of year. When she's being shorted, she let's everyone know!) As adults, we should understand that parents will treat their kids as individuals with varying needs and who cares if they give more time, energy or financial support to one kid versus another.

Now if I can just get that to sink in...
I think you're getting there...

Perhaps you can see it as a vote of confidence from your parents - perhaps you are unaware of the strain, annoyance or burden your parents may be feeling having to help your brother out so much, and at the expense of their other kids? And perhaps you underestimate how much they appreciate not having to worry about you?

If the exchanges are always about "why didn't I get..." or some strain of that discussion, they will be defensive and they won't share their frustrations or other nuanced feelings - just defend themselves.

Equal does not mean the Same...maybe I should make a shirt?

My parent's love all their kids but each of us get different things depending on the kid. My younger sister is getting grad school paid for - I would NEVER ask them to pay for me to go to school again, and I paid for much of my undergrad - My dad always said i was the "cheapest" kid (ie i didn't ask). Both my sisters got cars when they turned 16, I got my mom's 10 year old car when I went to college (the first to go away to school)...and even now my dad is considering buying her a new car and taking her old one because she's been complaining about it!!! If we all kept track of who was getting what - that would definitely get in the way of our relationship as sisters, family etc.

My kids are young - but even now I make sure I DO NOT give them everything equally - I intentionally tell them "your sister got shoes because she needs them now, you don't..." so everyone gets what they need...not the SAME!
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:19 PM   #49
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Interesting. I have struggled with the inequities for all my life, but have always tried to say, well they lavished all this money on my brother, and look how he turned out!
But it stings, and always will. The only thing you can do is not take your concept of fairness into the family situation.
Like TooFrugal, I've tried to resolve this internally, as the only thing I do know about these situations is that your parents are blind to the inequity. And that they will hotly deny any insinuation of favoritism. Luckily, I have a sister that also shares the not-favorite title with me, so I do have company.
I have the grim recognition that in the future, when my parents need care and probably money, I will be the one to provide it, as n'er do well bro' will be "short". They've given him money to their own detriment. But one thing I can guarantee is that he'll never see a dime out of me.
Being child-free, I don't have the seething anger that my sister feels when her kids are short-changed on time with the grandparents due to brother's kids always needing a free babysitter.
All I can say, boilerman, is that you are not alone in your resentment, but the healthiest thing you can do is let it go. I am still working on that noble goal, with marginal success.
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:15 PM   #50
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Is there such a thing as "reverse apron strings?" Instead of parents unwilling/unable to let the kids go and be independnet, kids are unwilling/unable to let parents go lead their "mature" years however they please?

Is any of the resentment kids feel due to so-called inequality in parental giving because the under-receivers feel their siblings are conning the folks out of time or money? "Damn Sissy, she kisses up to Dad and he gives her more time and money!"

Sometimes there are ethnic driven cultural biases in play. DW's family ethnicity includes a culture of giving the boys preferential treatment. DW was the oldest of four and was expected to be mommy's helper in raising her younger sibs. She always had chores, right through highschool and her brothers didn't. Never was allowed to get a drivers license, brothers did. Went to college against her parents wishes (who will help with the work around the house while you're gone?) and paid her own way through, including huge loans she and I paid off together after marrying. Parents sacrificed much to send brothers to college. Today, her dad is gone, but her elderly mom just assumes her oldest daughter is there to take care of her. She even asks for money from us to give to DW's brothers (who clearly are better off than us)! It's like it's hard wired in......... But.....DW has gotten past it, one brother has been convinced he needs to help his mom too. And life goes on.

One interesting thing about this thread. I'm now wondering, based on some comments DW's oldest brother made, if he doesn't feel that DW is getting too much of mom's attention. You know....... "Gee Sis, Mom always asks you for money, to clean her condo, do her shopping, take her to the doctor, etc, etc.
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Old 12-20-2007, 03:00 PM   #51
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My parents practiced "even Steven" with my 5 siblings and me and I try to do the same with my two. If my daughter pursues a career that doesn't pay well and continues to live in NYC I will probably spend more on her for travel, vacations, etc so she can join in with us. But I plan to leave them the same portion of the estate at death.
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:04 PM   #52
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I'm sorry, I know it hurts.

If you're searching for something good to come out of this, it could be that you've learned a lesson in how to not treat your children.
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:23 PM   #53
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Like a grown-up? You are only dealt one family in life. Whether they are fair or not, that's what you've got. You can't MAKE people change (believe me, they just won't).

Unless you would prefer totally eliminating them from your life, and from your childrens' lives forever, I think it's best to just accept things as they are (fair or not), and get whatever good you can from the relationship.
I know this is good advice. Now I just need to work on believing it.
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:28 PM   #54
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I think you're getting there...

Perhaps you can see it as a vote of confidence from your parents - perhaps you are unaware of the strain, annoyance or burden your parents may be feeling having to help your brother out so much, and at the expense of their other kids? And perhaps you underestimate how much they appreciate not having to worry about you?

If the exchanges are always about "why didn't I get..." or some strain of that discussion, they will be defensive and they won't share their frustrations or other nuanced feelings - just defend themselves.
Very insightful and probably true. These thoughts and the others here have given much to think about.
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:29 PM   #55
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How to tell you're NOT Mom's favorite:
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File Type: jpg !cid_001a01c82920$b0d572d0$6401a8c0@owner7d9a8b08c.jpg (35.7 KB, 5 views)
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:57 PM   #56
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Interesting. I have struggled with the inequities for all my life, but have always tried to say, well they lavished all this money on my brother, and look how he turned out!
But it stings, and always will. The only thing you can do is not take your concept of fairness into the family situation.
Like TooFrugal, I've tried to resolve this internally, as the only thing I do know about these situations is that your parents are blind to the inequity. And that they will hotly deny any insinuation of favoritism. Luckily, I have a sister that also shares the not-favorite title with me, so I do have company.
I have the grim recognition that in the future, when my parents need care and probably money, I will be the one to provide it, as n'er do well bro' will be "short". They've given him money to their own detriment. But one thing I can guarantee is that he'll never see a dime out of me.
Being child-free, I don't have the seething anger that my sister feels when her kids are short-changed on time with the grandparents due to brother's kids always needing a free babysitter.
All I can say, boilerman, is that you are not alone in your resentment, but the healthiest thing you can do is let it go. I am still working on that noble goal, with marginal success.
Sounds like your situation is very similar to mine.

One of my biggest issues with all this is that my wife and sister/BIL feel much stronger about all this than I do. It hurts me but I am at least 50% of the way towards letting it go, being accepting, etc. The others in the family are not and in fact my sister/BIL have come very close to shutting my parents out of their lives. So my mission is to get myself to a state of acceptance and then to influence the rest of the family.

As much as reading about the experience of others here has helped me, I'm pondering whether showing this thread to the rest of my family might be helpful. Sometimes people will follow the advice of strangers while ignoring those closest to them. Then again, it just might p*ss everyone off...
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Old 12-20-2007, 06:36 PM   #57
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I paid my way through college and grad school, have worked full time all my life, and generally treat my parents to dinner, etc., rather than the other way around. When they need someone to take them to the doctor, look over papers, or be their executor when they die they immediately assume that I'll be glad to do it. "You won't mind, you're so good at this kind of thing." I do mind, sometimes, but it's also nice to be needed, and they are my parents, after all.

My sister goofed off all her life, is a single mother by choice (got herself a 'sperm donon" instead of a husband), brags about never having worked more than a couple of days a week in her life, drops the kid off 4 days a week and does her laundry at my parents' house, and generally blackmails them for money / cars / etc. using their grandaughter as the bait. In return they lecture her, trust her with nothing, and treat her like she's still sixteen years old.

It's been my observation that when a grown child is getting money from the parents, some form of "payment" is oftentimes extracted.

Yes, my sister gets much more in the way of financial support from my parents than I do.

No, I wouldn't trade.
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:21 PM   #58
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So did I, but it was due to internal family dynamics, namely, my mom died, dad remarried two years later and had a child, and their energies were redirected to the "new kid" versus us "old kids".........
I left out the part about my father remarrying. His 2nd wife had a daughter exactly my age, but nicer than me and absolutely gorgeous (I do not suffer fools gladly, and look too much like my dad). It was so ridiculous that it could have been the plot for a sitcom, so it helped me get over it all.
Forgiveness is the most powerful force we humans can wield over ourselves.
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Thanks to you all
Old 12-21-2007, 11:58 AM   #59
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Thanks to you all

Thank you to everyone who took time to post your experiences and views.

Although I think it will take some time to put into practice, hearing how others have handled similar family situations has been a big help. Recognizing that as adults, our relationships with our parents change and with that we need to stop thinking as kids and be more accepting of our parent's choices is the key lesson that I have learned.

Even though my parents are making choices that I would not make myself, they did their job well in raising us 3 kids into adulthood and I need to eliminate from my thinking that parents have to continue to treat their adult children "fairly". I might always feel a little hurt when I see inequities within my family, but hopefully I'll be able to take a deep breath and apply my new found wisdom and move on.

I showed this thread to my wife last night and I think it's helped her even more. Reading others people's perspectives, expressed so articulately, is a powerful vehicle for learning. Again, my thanks to you all for helping!
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:39 PM   #60
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We know a lovely couple with three boys. They all are in a marriage or committed relationship. Son #1 has a huge amount of money and assets. Wive earns a huge amount also. Son #2 is an environmentalist and travels with wife to whereever with only what they have on their backs. Son #3 is employed in a blue collar job along with girlfriend, living in a one bedroom and they have a new baby.

Now how fair or reasonable is it to give the same amount to each. Better to talk to them all and say over a lifetime, they will be loved equally which may not be in the form of dollars. Help will be given when needed and family is available to all.

It is interesting that the rich wife is the one complaining about fairness while the son is perfectly happy with his parents. Note the kids #1 live a much more lavish lifestyle than the parents.
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