Annie’s Mailbox: Should I mediate daughters’ fued?
July 5, 2010
Dear Annie: I have three daughters, all in their 40s and married with children.
The problem is, the two oldest are not speaking to each other. They had a feud nine years ago when "Stefani" got married, and she and her older sister, "Jessica," had some disagreement at the wedding. Quite honestly, I am not sure what happened.
Although the rift was repaired, things remained cool.
When babies were born, everything at least seemed civil.
Then, two years ago, Stefani and Jessica had a contentious phone call and the relationship deteriorated.
None of us lives in the same area, but we communicate via phone calls, e-mails and visits.
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I work at a hospice and try to make my girls understand that life is short and they shouldn't hold grudges against loved ones.
My father refused to communicate with his siblings, and it took 50 years and a trip to the doctor for the reality of those lost years to hit him.
Jessica did e-mail Stefani to apologize for her behavior that day on the phone, but Stefani will not respond or discuss it.
I am trying to mediate. I was going to write each of them the same letter to explain how this erodes family relationships and that they need to teach their children how to resolve conflict.
My youngest daughter has a good relationship with both sisters and does not want to take sides.
Should I write the letters? Or do I leave it be and hope they see this in the newspaper, recognize themselves and realize they need to fix things?
— Concerned Mom
Dear Mom: Some siblings simply rub each other the wrong way, and their arguments are never-ending.
In a healthy relationship, siblings tolerate each other's personalities. In less forgiving circumstances, there are rifts and estrangements.
Please continue to encourage them to stay in touch so their children will know their cousins and so that they will have the opportunity to mend fences.
If you think you can do that in a letter, go ahead. But, don't expect too much. We hope there will be time enough to fix this.