Follow
Share

Some responsible others just a burden. We see lots of posts on this site about the one son or daughter that ends up totally responsible for caregiving of parents and the worthless sibs who do nothing but make things worse. What is it? Do parents unconsciously treat kids differently? Mom always liked you best? I know there's lots of scholarly material out there but what do you guys think is going on? I'm the responsible one in my family. My sibs passed away and I often wonder how we ended up so profoundly different having come from the same place. People who knew all three of us have always made remarks to me that we seemed to be from three different planets. I'm far from perfect and have had the sames kinds of life's downside as any one else who is 60 years old but I survived (so far anyway) and do what has to be done. What are folks thinking about this subject?

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
1 2 3 4
Its that whole "nature vs nurture" debate. After watching the next generation in my family grow into young adulthood I firmly believe some traits are just hard wired into our personalities.
(11)
Report

I don't have any sisters, so I can only compare myself to my three brothers. It is just a gender thing here. My mother was raised to think men were providers and women cared for family. It is kind of funny. My two living brothers and I are middle income type people. I had more college and a job that was considered socially "higher," but still my brothers were the successful ones and my job was hobby work to my mother.

BTW, my mother has never known where my brothers or I worked or what we even did. That really surprised me. She thought I was in college for 30 years. That was funny. She thought my older brother still worked at the same company he did 40 years ago. She knew my little brother was an engineer, but that was all she knew.
(7)
Report

Parents are not handed a blank lump of clay to mold as they will. We all come with some predispositions (or hard-wiring) to use cwillie's term.

No two siblings actually have the same parents. I was the only one in my family, for example, who had first-time, nervous, and super-devoted parents. My youngest brother came along 20 years and 6 children later. Do you think he had the same parents? Ha!

And parents and the family of origin are not the only things that influence us. My stepdaughters are identical twins. Their DNA might match, but they have had different life experiences as adults, and they are very different people.
(18)
Report

We have 5 children, yours, mine, and ours! Strangely, the one in denial is the youngest one of "ours." The one most involved is our oldest, who is "his."
(4)
Report

Thank God we are different, I would hate to be like my sisters. My mother doted on them, and when she needed them the most, they were MIA. The youngest of the 10 children, who were not doted on, were the ones who took care of everything when the going got tough. The sisters would only participate when they could devise a plan to make it harder on us, which ultimately only hurt my mother. They did not even lift a finger to help, not even with the funeral and never a thank you. My brothers ask me all the time, how could the same parents have possibly raised us?
(8)
Report

That's a question for the ages. I know that most caregivers are female, but I must be in the small percentage where my sister is useless, and won't lift a finger. When my dad was dying she refused to see him. She didn't even attend his funeral. She went to the best schools (ivy league, has two master's degrees) and has a very cold heart. I didn't talk to her for 12 years and after 16 years I invited her to visit mom, stay with me, etc. I couldn't wait 'til she left as she was so obnoxious and opinionated.
I was the not so smart guy, played sports, athletic scholarship, almost flunked out, had a shot at the pros and learned how work my a** off. My sister can't keep a job and tries to borrow money from me or mom. I was a VP of several software companies over the years. Why? because I understand people and she can't get along with anyone.
So I became POA and executor for mom. She has severe dementia and lives with me. All my sister wants is for her to die and get her money and has never offered to help, visit, etc.
(8)
Report

Great question!!!!!!!!!!!! These responses are really interesting.

My daughter has three children. The youngest two are from the same father and only one year apart. Chalk and cheese. He is tiny and slight, not interested in food much. She was born a moose, will eat anything, is eager to eat, wont' stop until it is all gone. That is nature.

As for the nurture? In my young, idealistic days I put it all onto nurture. But life has shown me differently. Today, I say both.

And how are siblings so different? Again, both. As I said above--the nature part can be so different! But even in the same family, there can be subtle, decisive differences. I see such a difference in how my daughter raised my eldest grandson (daycare all the way and she left him there in the afternoons even when she wasn't busy) to these two who are fussed over and coddled all day, their every whim addressed. She is a very different mother today only six years later.

To conclude, I share your amazement and always ask myself the same thing. Reading historical biographies, I read this same story over and over. The most intelligent, diligent parents can have duds for kids and share the same frustration that we feel today.

Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(5)
Report

I'm the last of 7 and 15 yrs younger than my oldest sister.. All I ever heard was "Mom spoils you".. Well all her complaining paid off, because Mom's with me now and she hasn't visited Mom since March..

I have 2 children a boy(oldest) and a girl.. They are different in many ways BUT they are alike in learned family values.. They understand thru our teaching what is expected from them.. Not that they always do it!! I was much more nervous with my son then I was with my daughter and it shows in their personalities..

My son the scientist will argue that DNA plays a major role in who we are, going back in generations...

So I'm not taking the blame for everything !!!!

But when it comes to my siblings they lived in the same household as I and know what is expected of them, but choose to ignore Mom..

It's " out of sight, out of mind"... Selfishness to the highest degree!!
(4)
Report

Some things are just unexplained dysfunctional phenomenons!
(7)
Report

very interesting. I have 2 brothers and a sister. My one brother and sister are devoted to my mom-visit her frequently and can't do enough for her. I am her POA and proxy and do a lot also. My other brother left to go to his condo for 4 months in January when we where having a lot going on with mom. She was moving to a facility and her condo needed to be cleaned out and sold. He called periodically but never offered to do a thing to help. He just thanked us for doing a great job at getting everything done. Having said that, he and mom never really got along, he moved out at an early age and was on h is own. I don't know if he blamed the relationship with her for that. I think your position in the family has a lot to do with it. Parental inexperience and learning how to be a parent changes how your parents react to what you do and their expectations.
Ideas?
(4)
Report

Interesting topic indeed and one that Ive wondered about also
My eldest sister was obvious the pet, born with curls and then along came me, I guess I was the disappointment not being a boy, so certainly labelled a number2 child, a nearly 5yr gap until the next, and all I remember of her was a crying demanding miserable 'thing' who grew to be obese, everything done by her for her alone.. and lives in some sort of cuckoo world, that I cant even have a conversation with her. I see the colour yellow she would see pink. but interestingly never really liked by my Ma. and in her demented state, will tell her to go away, My next sister had health issues and lots of hospital visits as a baby, so she now has that feeling of being a nuisance and disappointment as a child but is the one with the most empathy for Ma. THEN the boy, came along, still somewhere down inside that now hidden memory she knows she has her beloved son, who can do no wrong, and no woman was good enough for him.
Today its he and the eldest sister who live in the bubble that they being the first child and the male child think and hope that they get half, and that the middle 3 share nothing. Both raided the house when Pa died.and took anything they thought was good.
I always said that the only thing we have in common is parents, and when that passes [if she ever does] then I will not have much to do with my siblings at all.
(3)
Report

I am baby of 11 8 bros and 2 sisters. I live closest so I have always been the one to do for my mom one sis lives hour and half away preachers wife and wants mom n a home Sooo bad to Lightin the guilt I'm guessing. A big disappointment. The other 3 hrs away and all she wants is moms money and to question anything and everything I do especially w moms money....we r all made from same dough just sum of us rise and sum don't. Good luck
(3)
Report

God knows, and He's not telling.
(7)
Report

I, too, think it's a combination of nature and nurture. We all have certain personality traits wired into us that affect how we view the world. Also, it's impossible to raise any two children the same since they are affected by the world outside of the home, as well as position in the family, family finances at the time, health, friends (or lack of). The list is endless.

While I think parenting matters a lot, I get irritated when people (usually people who've never raised kids) think that everything is parenting. There are many, many influences that go into making each of us a unique human being, parenting of course being one of them.

Great discussion!
Carol
(0)
Report

Love this post!! Found myself writing a book so will have to respond later. Can't wait to see all the answers!
(1)
Report

My wife has 2 older sisters and they are as different as night and day. The older sisters are always "missing in action" when it comes to doing anything for their mom. The oldest sister will call but just to find out what my family is doing as we are taking care of my wife's mother. The middle sister never calls or writes to her mother even on the holidays. I agree that maybe your position has a lot to do with it to a point, the rest comes from the inner self and how you set your priorities. What my wife's sisters need too realize is their children see how they are treating their mother and always have treated their grandmother. The grandchildren are the same way they have even told their grandmother we drive by on a daily basis and we will try to stop but that never happens. What we are seeing is the old saying what goes around comes around as the middle sister very rarely sees her family and that includes her grandchildren,
(1)
Report

Wow! Never expected so much interest and good discussion. I thought I was the only sib born on a different planet. One point that struck me was Jeannegibs talking about the age difference and how kids are not raised by the same parents. That was true in my family. My older brother and I were 2 years apart but my little sister was a surprise baby, 13 years younger than me. While my brother and I shared very similar growing up experiences, Sis was raised by doting and better off financially parents. Her formative years were totally different from the brothers. I never was jealous or resented her whe
(1)
Report

Sorry, cut myself off.......I never resented her when we were young but by her 20s she had become a spoiled, princess mess and her life spiraled to the bottom due to continual lousy choices. Older brother was also a big mess from the start. Even as a small boy I was amazed at his oblivion to my parents feelings.
He and my sis drove us all crazy until his death at 60 and hers at 42.
(0)
Report

This is too simple, but it's still "the choices we make". Consciously or unconsciously, we make them. We all have things that influence those choices. I will just stop now
(2)
Report

My grandmother had several siblings, no two were alike. I've often thought it strange how they can all be so different with their personality. I have one brother and he and I are totally different. We were raised the same but our opinions are totally opposite. I think genetics play a part as well as our environment & our experiences. It's a delicate balance and I certainly don't fully understand it.
(2)
Report

Have wondered this for years....I have the "American Dream" leave it to Beaver ( 21st century version) family, my sister, and we are 3 years apart, is a homeless drug addict. Raised with same parents same values...she has had every opportunity handed to her too...she had college paid for her, not me ... she has had many many opportunities to better herself and has even taken them...yet, here she is...I can't even get a college loan...if anyone figures it out...let me know...
(3)
Report

OMG,,, there is always the doer and the one who thinks she/he has done everything, but in reality has done nothing to help. My Mom has dementia, is in nursing home and my sis makes me out to be the Bad Guy because I fought for my parents and tried to take care of them and protect them from my sister and her husband who tried to kick them out of their home. Their home being attached to my sister's house and their home in which my parents helped them buy many years ago, and the home they could live in until their deaths. Sister and brother-in-law stated at the time that they, meaning sis and bro in law would be there to help them in their old age(parents old age). Well, let me tell you, when they started to need a LITTLE help, they called me because they couldn't handle the stress. Oh, I can go on and on.
This topic hits right at home. Then they get their kids involved which is a crying shame. Because, I truly love my nieces and nephew, now they won't talk to me because of my sister. By the way, she was the one favored by mom. I was the one who respected my Mom and Dad and still do no matter what. Dad is gone and I miss him so much!
(1)
Report

I am the caregiver - always have been - sister does nothing unless there is something in it for her - in fact she is upset that mother's measly life insurance policy is left to my - all $9,000 of it - won't even cover transportation across state lines to the family cemetery. Sorry sis - you are going to have to buy your own meth. I am busy figuring out how to pay for her funeral when the time comes.
(3)
Report

I have three sisters. We are all different. I feel it is my obligation as a loving daughter to take care of my mom. She helped me raise my three children so that I could always work part time. I always told myself I would repay her some day. Now is the time. I will continue to keep her in my home or hers as long as possible. Life has come full circle and I embrace It.
(3)
Report

Having been the only one of my siblings to "run" anytime my parents needed me, I can relate to the post and comments. I am the oldest, the one with the most responsibilities and yet, I was the one to care for my aged Father for 7 years until he passed away. My youngest "spoiled" sibling has an inflated sense of entitlement. She made my life a "living h*ll" questioning everything I did for Dad, including stealing his money and stealing his affection. She continues to conflict hurts and actions that cause me emotional pain....I tried cutting her out of my life, but its not working. We co-own my Dad's house and she refuses to sell it even though I cannot afford to maintain it financially. Its a big mess.....She has alienated all my children and grandchildren as well.....It is a continuing nightmare......
(1)
Report

Some things are just unexplained dysfunctional phenomenons!

Have to agree, this statement pretty much sums it up.
(2)
Report

That is a great question. I had friends that had identical twin girls. They were soooo identical in appearance that their own Grandmother, and sometimes their Father could not tell them apart. I always could, which amazed everyone. My secret for telling them apart? One was methodical, softer spoken, every hair in place, clothes kept neat, project or toys intact. The other one lived in the minute, 0-60 in 3 seconds, hair a mess, clothes soiled and wrinkled, project and toys a mess, always bouncing off the walls chattering loudly. :-) Same divided egg, same everything at the same time, as far as parents, outings, teachers, friends, all the way 'til kindergarten.

I've got 3 relatives that had their last child so much later than their 1st that the last child biologically could have been the son or daughter of the oldest sibling. All 3 of those instances they were raised a world apart, the younger ones got a more relaxed, financially secure set of parents with more time to give them. So those differences make sense. But watching the identical twins, I almost wonder if it isn't the part we can't see that makes the difference, like the "soul" we are born with?
(2)
Report

I was taken aback by Carol's comment "I get irritated when people (usually people who've never raised kids) think that everything is parenting." Let's not stereotype people that don't have children. As my on/gym doctor told me of 30 yrs "I see some people that shouldn't have children and then I see you that woul have made a wonderful mom". Some of us for health reasons can't have children and that isn't fair for others to judge. Insensitive comment.
(4)
Report

I was the first born, but unwanted girl, given to grandparents to raise till age 10, then brought home to be the "caretaker" for my much wanted younger brother while my parents worked. I was the family scapegoat and abused from that point on and younger brother protected from the abuse. When we were both grown and out of the house, I tried to explain to my brother why I did not get along so well at that time with our parents and his reply was "I don't know what you are talking about, I did not have the same parents you thought you had." I never tried to explain it to him again. Now he is 55 and I am 60. After many years of healing from my dysfunctional childhood through professional counseling, my husband and I have been able to be emotionally strong enough to shoulder the burden and move in and live with those same 2 parents as their caretakers 24/7. Younger brother does nothing but visit here occasionally and have us down to his house for family dinners. So the "unwanted" child who was taught to be the caretaker as a child still is, and the spoiled and doted on child goes his merry way most of the time in this family, but I found out that my parents have been keeping him in the dark about their problems. I came home from another state after a 21 year absence with my eyes wide open to some of the problems I was witnessing when I came home for visits and completely willing to do what had to be done here. Why? First of all, as the oldest I believe it is my responsibility to care for my parents, regardless of how I was treated as a child. Secondly, I could not have lived with myself knowing they were not capable of looking after themselves and then leaving them in the mess they were in when I got here. Once I was here, I discovered that they have been hiding all their troubles from my brother, so he does not know that dad who is an alcoholic has been verbally abusing Mom and that Mom is in the beginning stages of some kind of Dementia. Things are much better now that I am here, but my parents still forbidding me to tell my brother. I don't allow the abuse, but Mom refuses to quit enabling the drinking. I am keeping a watchful eye on Mom as we begin the process of diagnosing what type of Dementia she has. When its all said and done one day, it will not matter to me what my brother has or has not done, and to be fair, he does not know about the abuse that was taking place or my Mom's dementia symptoms because my parents hide that well so far. It just matters to me that I did the right thing in seeing that they both are cared for as well as I am able.
(2)
Report

You could be talking about my own family here! I believe that it's a combination of nature, nurture & one's life experiences. The nature example is: I have an older sister, who's very driven, a high achiever and cold as ice. My younger brother (the baby in the family) is sweet but basically a flake and hardly capable of caring for his own kids without doing something lacking common sense. As the middle child, I'm the one who is mom's caregiver. Sis took mom to live in assisted living by her (100 miles away from mom's house that we sold), but was hardly visiting. Her husband would visit every other week, but mom knew no one in this state, so I brought her back to the city she lived in for the past 50 yrs and have her stay with me on weekends (she's in assisted living now). Brother visits every other week (a 12-hr drive), but when he's here, he doesn't really help with anything. Never asks if there's anything he can do. But then again, he was raised by chauvinistic parents from a culture where boys aren't supposed to lift a finger. Even though my brother was born & educated here, he continues to perpetuate this mentality. So he would be the nurture example.
The reason why I that sometimes, one's life experiences can also influence this is b/c I know that when I was in my 20s & early 30s, I was just as selfish and did whatever I wanted, travel, friends, etc. But as I got older and experienced certain things (losing my father, divorce, etc.), the selfish part of me dissipated and now I dedicate my life to making my mom's final years as good as I can. 20 years ago, I probably would have been as selfish as my sister & brother.
Still, as everyone says, there's always one child that ends up doing all the work, even when there are tons of siblings nearby. I don't think it's a coincidence that every one of my female friends has been the one to care for their parent & other relatives until the very end. I guess birds of a feather really do flock together, lol.
(2)
Report

1 2 3 4
This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.

Start a Discussion

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter