Late-Life Midlife Siblings at Thanksgiving -Don’t wash the Turkey Down with Zanex and Martinis

 

In midlife in the twenty-first century, not only do we frequently get divorced and remarried, but our aging parents do as well. Sometimes shockingly, we may acquire unexpected stepsiblings through a parent’s unforeseen late-life marriage. The effects of these late-life unions can be a new rash of stepsiblings, introduced in your middle age.

 

You do not have to share your bedroom with them, as stepsiblings must in childhood, but you may be forced to interact through the exploding family web. This can mean negotiating where Mom or Dad celebrates Thanksgiving  . Late life step siblings can mean Turkey Day  rituals with a remote, remade family. If you already have stepsiblings, or half siblings from childhood divorce , this exploding crop of siblings  may make an indigestible menu of lumpy  gravy smothered mashed potatoes and thanksgiving on  steroids.

Late-life remarriage can bring challenges to your existing stepbrother or sister relationship through these almost menopausal stepparents and stepsiblings. You and your on hand siblings may be feel like punching each other, like the midlife Super Mario Brothers, if either of you disagrees about the new second marriages. Some people embrace the extended families that enfold them in middle age. Other siblings reject them, accepting only their blood relatives. Differing points of view can explode into a new battle.

Money can cause a new rift. Remarriage and new stepsiblings may mean dividing a parent’s estate among more heirs, resulting in a diminished inheritance. Remarried parents can leave their whole estate to a new spouse or autumnal stepsiblings. One of you may accept Mom or Dad’s choice while another may boil over, prompting a new quarrel. Lawsuits can break out as the family drama escalates to the courtroom. Maintaining a united front as you face these family changes takes constant attention to shore up your reborn sibling attachment.

If you have new middle aged stepsibings to fit into the groaning Thanksgiving table, start out on the right foot. Make this a new ritual that your aging parents, married remarried or divorced can actually  enjoy and young kids don’t  just ditch.

E mail a menu or use facebook and have one person in change of gathering all menu items. Don’t be rigid about the bill of fare. The idea is to blend the family together which is already mismatched china. If you have turkey and spanokopita and Mom’s famous dressing gets left out- let it go. The idea is to create a new ritual not a perfect festive meal. The repast is already off balance.

You may also consider looking into forgiveness tools like Mom Loves You Best Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships for a holiday appetizer. Try investigating ways to make a solid extended family relationship instead of washing down the turkey with Zanax  and martinis.

 

 

 

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About momlovesyoubest

Cathy Cress holds an MSW in Aging from U.C. Berkeley. Her new book Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships , New Horizon Press, was published October 2010. Cress’s book , Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Jones and Bartlett, is the bible of geriatric care management and is out out in a third edition in February 2011 .Her book Care Managers, Working With the Aging Family, Jones and Bartlett,2008 is one of the few major books on the aging family. Ms. Cress is the founder of GCM Consult ,working with small and national who want to add or launch GCM businesses. She is on the faculty at the University of Florida in their on line master’s in geriatric care management -GCM . She has taught geriatric care management at San Francisco State University , UC Berkeley and teaches at Cabrillo College and San Mateo College. She was founder and director of Cresscare, a GCM business, for 25 years.
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