What do your family dynamics look like?

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Registered: 12-12-2002
What do your family dynamics look like?
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 10:59pm
Let me try this again

This really doesn't have anything to do with the topic at hand, just something I'm trying to figure out for myself.

How do things work within your family wrt who takes care of whom? For instance, if someone in your family (parent, grandparent, sibling) has an emergency, who is the first to know? Who takes "charge" of the situation? Does it vary based upon who it is who has the emergency? Does it matter how close you are to that person?

Would you feel comfortable letting another sibling take the "control" position in an emergency? Does that tend to happen, or are you more likely to take the "control" position? Or do the people within the family share it? Do you resent how much "control" your family takes or does not take in family situations?

Like I said, it really doesn't have anything to do with this debate, I'm just curious because of what is going on with my dad right now. He and I are not very close, but I do feel the need to be "there" for him. However, my sister is really the one in the "control" position. She is the one to call relatives, arrange care, etc, etc. If it were my grandparents I would be the one in the "control" situation. It just feels comfortable for me to be in that position with my g-parents, where it doesn't with my dad. However, I wonder how my sister feels about this (especially since she is/was his step-daughter), as I know how angry it makes me to see my uncles and biomom ignore issues with my grandparents.

Just curious as to some opinions while I work through my thoughts on this.

Edited 6/10/2003 11:47:51 PM ET by okmrsmommy

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

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Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 12:31am
My dad got cancer 5 years ago and died within 5 months. The person who took over was my mom. All of us siblings were clueless and looking to each other to do what needs to be done. It will be a sad situation when and if my mom has an emergency.

I live the furthest away, so it would be hard for me to take over things. However, since I am a sahm and don't have job obligations it seems likely I could move in with her for a spell. That is, if this "emergency" happens before my kids are in school.

Otherwise, I don't know. It has always been my mom in charge.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 6:28am
Since we don't live by family we would be the last to know and someone else would take "charge". In my family I leave being in "charge" to whomever took on that role. In DH's family depending on the circumstance he has either taken charge once he found out or taken on a co-in charge role.
Avatar for laurenmom2boys
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 7:26am
It depends. My DH seems to take control when it comes to his mom's issues. Although his sister lives in the same town as their mom, and she takes care of more day-to-day stuff, DH handles financial things and legal matters for her. DH has a "take charge" personality and he's good at the financial and business end of things.

When it comes to my parents, either my brother or I handle stuff (since we live closer - Beth lives 600 miles away), although mom and dad are still pretty chipper. Dad is 77 going on 60 and mom is 71 going on 72. Mom has more physical problems (arthritis, knee replacement, back surgery), but they're both in great mental health.

When it comes to our boys, we both handle things well. However, when DS1 was hospitalized 8 years ago as a baby, DH handled most of the issues dealing with that since he's in the healthcare field and understands medical issues and since I was 2 weeks away from delivering our DS2 and was exhausted.

When my DH was deathly ill 7 years ago, I took charge. He was amazed at how strong I was through the whole ordeal. Since we'd not been through any major difficulty together before that, he didn't know just how strong I could be.

We don't have a lot of "family issues." We've been fortunate that our parents have been healthy for the most part (except his dad who passed away 7 years ago) and that we get along very well with our siblings. DH and I and our siblings have all been healthy as well.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 9:46am
Oddly enough, I have been thinking about this alot, too. My mother is getting older and she is single. My sister and I do not have the best relationship. The last time we visited was awful. Ten minutes in the visit, my 8 year old niece looked at me and said "Mommy says your irresponible." Lovely. So, I have been thinking about what would happen if my mother gets sick. How would we make the decisions when we can not get along? Would we be at each other's throats instead of focusing on the issue at hand? I really do not know. I live closer to my mother and she will probably live with me so I will be in control. Will it cause more stress on my sister's and I relationship? Probably.

I have a habit of trying to be in control of situations. I tend to get really calm in a crisis and try to organize everything. I, of course, have been taking care of most things because of DH's situation. I have a tendency to baby him and I am letting go gradually.

DH is great when one of the children is sick. He makes sure they get their medication. If one (God forbid) were in the hospital, we would probably lean on each other.


"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)


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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 10:07am

Edited 6/11/2003 10:11:45 AM ET by iomoon
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 1:22pm
In our family it's each nuclear family on its own.

My DH's younger brother and his family interact/support my ILs, but otherwise, there is no mutual support mechanism.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 5:46pm
when it comes to a family emergency involving our children, i usually take control, as i am more aggressive with questions, and actions where dh is more of a follower, however, dh and i are in constant communication everyday, so whenever something comes up we put our heads together, and handle it. i guess it just depends on the circumstances.

with our parents, again depending on what it is, as to how we respond. when dh's grandmother died, and his dad had his first heart attack on the day of her funeral, my dh took over most of the "leg work", and communications concerning grandmas "affairs". he actually, just moved in and took over, as his mom was in no shape to even think about that stuff. dh's parents are pretty much self sufficient, and half the time dont even tell us when something is wrong. we are 600 miles away, and i guess they just have the attitude, "outta sight, outta mind".

my parents are in great shape as lauren said, so because db and she are up there, they handle most of the stuff, however, they always keep me well informed and consult with me, as to not leave me out. it would be very ugly if i were!! LOL

our siblings are all pretty healthy, and have attentive spouses to take care of them, when needed.