Preparing for your siblings’ visit

Your siblings, their partners, maybe their kids—everyone’s coming to see Mom and/or Dad. That’s happy news!

Should this be business? Would you rather it were pleasure? How about a little of both?

With some forethought and planning, you can make their visit meaningful on many levels.

Think about what you want. Then be sure to let your siblings know your “agenda.” Maybe it’s

  • respite time. You’re the one always on the scene. Let your siblings take the lead for a while. Have a day to yourself, or an overnight out of town!
  • specific chores done. Are there things you just never seem to get to, like cleaning out your parents’ closet or oiling the garage door opener? Make a wish list of tasks;
  • discussion of care issues. If schedules and time zones make it impossible to talk with all your siblings at once, seize the opportunity. If there are thorny or complex issues to discuss, consider hiring a care manager to facilitate;
  • playtime with siblings. You might want time to nurture your sibling relationships. Hire extra paid care and go shopping with your sister or take a walk with your brother.

Prepare yourself emotionally. Give some thought to any grievances you have with your siblings. Decide in advance how to handle your feelings with each individual. (Otherwise, you might just pop off with a snarky comment you later regret!) Here are two basic choices:

  • Accept and let go. Look at the situation realistically. You might not be getting from him or her what you want, but they may be providing all that they can. Find other ways to have your needs met.
  • Decide to talk about it. Arrange a time to talk privately with your sibling, and word your complaint without blame or anger. State what’s been uncomfortable for you and what you’d like to happen differently. Check out our article about constructively explaining your needs to others.