How do I get my other siblings to love and understand my 88-year-old father?

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father raised 7 kids alone never said i love you and we all pretty much gave him trouble oldest sib is 62 or 65 i'm 47 the youngest. he is stuck in his day and age and still has the tendency to tell us what to do with our lives and or grandchildren and if we dont listen then he is disgusted and loses respect or something. i'm learning to speak up respectvely and its working. we have a good relationship. dad has a need to take control of everyones plans when visiting from afar which is ok one day or night not the entire visit so over the years my siblings put up w/it and it led to doing things behind his back and not being up front. i say let him know your own plans too and if he has a problem well least you were honest. dad is seeing his child raising mistakes which is never to late. no perfect parent right? i just want m siblings to give honest and understanding a chance before its too late. being the baby well you know. i should just stay out of family business according to oldest sister whos 60ish. when i was young i thought he was mean but no he was just trying what he thought was right or the best. You kinda follow me?

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This is the most challenging part of the caregiving journey...the baggage we all carry from the past into the present. Ideally and in a perfect world, we would all be able to put the past behind us and move into the present with love, respect and understanding for our aging loved one. Sadly this is not the way of the world. Your dad is 88 and therefore you are really talking about your feelings surrounding the end of his life. For your family...this is the final walk with your father and the question is...What do you want that to look like? It is clear that you have resolved whatever past issues you had with your father by living in the present and with honesty and clarity and this is exactly what you should be doing. If your father gets "fussy" or "controlling" then so be it...you've been honest and clear. Your siblings are not living in the same place as you are. I don't know what their reasons are for making the decisions they are making. Instead of telling them what to do (which never really works well) I would ask them the question above. And say exactly this, "This is our final walk with Dad. What do you want that to look like?" Then wait for the answer. When I work with families this is question that often changes their perception. You have to change the way you approach your brothers and sisters. You have to present something different for them to think about. I would just put it out there and see what happens. No judgment on your part..just a question and they don't even have to answer you. This will be a personal dialog within themselves. Your Dad, at 88 years old, is not going to change. In fact, he might get worse. It's important to remember that his generation for the most part was not one to give a lot of love and affection. His role was to provide and critique. Sounds like he did that well. He probably never had to think about how his words or control issues affected others. He's not going to learn that lesson now. The important thing here is how you all treat him at the end of your life. Once someone leaves us, there's no going back and for the family, unresolved personal issues with a parent can be very destructive for the individual. Resolve and forgiveness lead to enlightenment. I hope in some small way this helps you.
I kinda follow you, yes. I am the oldest of 7, with 20 years between me and youngest brother. When we were putting a eulogy together for our father's funeral and sharing some memories it was quite clear that the parents I had were not the same people who parented my youngest brother! Parents change and grow and have different reationships with different children. Even though they love them all equally, they may not be equally close to each of them.

It sounds like your approach to your dad -- to respectfully disagree and be honestly yourself -- is working well for you. That is good for you. You are getting benefits that your older sibs might be missing out on. On the other hand, they have figured out ways of dealing with Dad that work for them. Maybe a change would be healthy or improve their relationship, but it is not something you can do for them. You can talk about what is working for you, but I think I'd avoid telling them what they should do. (I know what I'd tell my baby brother if tried to tell me what to do! :) )

You might advocate on their behalf, now that you have an improved relationship with Dad. Get him talking about when he was in his 60s. Ask him about his relationship to his parents then (if they were still alive). How would he have reacted to them planning all the details of his visits to them? Did your grandparents ever try to tell him how to raise his kids? How did he react to that?

It would be nice if all 7 kids came to have a loving, accepting relationship with Dad before he departs. You can talk about your relationship and you can share your new insights. You can perhaps advocate for less controlling behavior from your father. It is kind of you to be concerned. But ultimately you didn't make the relationships that exist now, and you can't fix them. The most you can do is create conditions where change has a better chance to occur.

Good luck to all of you!
MJ:

Your father's parenting skills, no doubt, got better as he aged. Otherwise you'd share your older sibs' perceptions, experiences, and reality as it relates to Dad. In their world, he dictated; they were conditioned to carry out his orders. In yours, it's a lot easier to stand up to him -- being the "cheche" (baby) might have something to do with it. They resent you for apparently sucking up to him; and resent him for still telling them what to do after all these years. Until they figure out how to speak their minds without recriminations, not much is going to change between them.

Whether older sis likes it or not, their business is your business too. The best way to keep them from calling you a "metiche" (meddler) is to remain objective and avoid taking sides. The trick is not to get burned during the crossfire, so be ready when they kiss, make up, and gang up against you. Happy trails.

-- Ed
I come from a huge extended family...we were the younger cousins. To this day my older cousins still talk to me as if I were 8 years old. I guess it is just that birth order thing.
One thing I have learned over the years is that you cannot change anyone's behavior. You can only change how you preceive and deal with it. Your sibs have found a way to cope with his controlling nature, so unless they are doing something devious or illegal to you or your father, let them do their thing. Perhaps your Dad's need to controll was his way of keeping you all in line as you were growing up. Now, it is just annoying to your sibs.
Family dynamics are so interesting to watch as we all get older. I have learned to "pick my battles" and let the rest fly. Good luck
I too am from a large family (10). I'm 9th in birth order. I have a brother 20yrs older and a brother 4yrs younger. My older sibling say Mom and Dad were much stricter on them and always said that my younger brother and I were spoiled. We weren't. It was just Mom and Dad had mellowed by the time we were born and had a lot less financial strain. I took care of my Dad for the last 3 yrs of his life at 88yrs and I had a wonderful relationship with him during those final years. I could say anything to Dad and we used to have great loud arguments about politics etc but there was always respect there. He was 'The Boss' to the day he died. It's been 10yrs and I still miss him so much at times. Enjoy these final times - you can only walk your own path with your Dad. Your Siblings have to walk their paths.
You are responsible for your own behavior and feelings. Changing other's is impossible. Keep doing what is working for you and your relationship with your dad. Your siblings will work out their issues in their time, and even if they don't you know in your heart that you tried to change their minds.

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