Caught in the middle

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Caught in the middle
6
Fri, 02-24-2012 - 11:24pm

How often to you find yourself in the middle of a family issue trying to mediate between the different parties to reach a compromise? It seems that even though my kids get along well, there can still be challenges to get them to a common ground. Right now, I'm caught in the middle again. When they were small I used to let them fight it out. Unfortunately, chasing each other around the house with a water gun isn't an option these days.

Like every wedding, there are issues & the main one is the wedding date next year. The kids chose a wedding date of Oct 12, 2013, 16 mths ago when they got engaged. Then a few wks ago, they discovered that they would save about 15% if they moved their wedding to the beginning of May. Being practical, this is what they did. However, they didn't ask anyone if they had a problem with the new date. Problem is that James has planned to go overseas next January to celebrate the completion of his masters. He intends to travel for 6 mths with a friend. Now he is frustrated because he will have to cut his trip short to come home for the wedding or come home & fly back. At this time, he has travel plans but nothing booked. He is frustrated, so his latest response is fine, I'm not coming home at Xmas this year because I can't afford that plus coming back for the wedding then returning to finish my trip. That then upsets Sandy as Noah misses his Uncle Jay and she thinks it's terrible of James to consider not seeing Noah for 8 or 9 mths fromm Aug to April. So the battle is raging but I'm the only one who is aware of it. James hadn't said anything Andrew, Sandy hasn't said anything to James but they are both yapping at me. Thankfully , they are yapping in text!

Then Andrew is upset with Sandy (can't remember when that ever happened before) because she wants me to move the engagement party from July to June as her DH is having a stag week the weekend I'm planning on the party. Andrew wants the party in July as planned & so he is yapping on about how he doesn't care if Luke comes. Frankly, neither do I but I haven't told Sandy. I'm not moving the party as I have had 2 large events & Luke never showed at either of them because he got a better "offer" to hang with his buddies.

Our family tends to be direct & speak their minds. However, everyone is still walking on eggshells around Sandy. She is doing much better but is overly sensitive still. So we don't like to upset her. Being in Victoria, the distance makes it harder for him to be direct with Andrew plus he feels guilty as the kids are trying to save money so he agrees with their logic but he doesn't like change. So now that he has made plans, it's hard for him to regroup.

Then there is Ian who per usual has no idea of the emotions raging within the family. In our house, it's me who the kids come to, it's me who acts as the referee or peacemaker & most of the time Ian never hears about anything. He thinks we have a nice, calm family life. Oh what a dreamworld he lives in, lol

Dee

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sat, 02-25-2012 - 12:41am

Dee, sorry to hear that you are feeling stuck in the middle. I imagine that a part of you would like to tell them to stop unloading on you, just work it out amongst themselves. Are you also feeling like you have to tiptoe around Sandy?

I haven't had to do much, if any, mediating between my kids in a long time. They both tell me some of their problems occasionally (ds rarely but dd still does sometimes) but those problems don't seem to involve each other.

I hope that they start talking to each other soon and get it resolved before any relationships get strained. Meanwhile feel free to vent to us, we promise not to answer you in a snippy tone of voice!

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Sat, 02-25-2012 - 7:32pm

I come from a large family-& have 4 kids too. So been-there, done-that!

I think you have to send all 3 of them an e-mail (& believe me I hate 'mass e-mails'-hate to send them, hate to receive them) & say that from now on, issues will please be dealt with by the person they are about. That you would appreciate not being put in the middle any more. (You can be nicer than that sentence seems). As adults, don't they have to discuss their issues with the person who is causing them? And it would seem to me-Andrew's wedding is his big day, his time when everyone has to do what he & Syd want. Plan the engagement party according to your plans-& the couple's plans, not what a sil might or might not want to do. If he choses to be elsewhere, that's between him & your dd. FYI-I'd be annoyed too-but really, not my problem-if you give him adequate notice, he can do the right thing-or not.

I must admit, I am not any good at keeping conflicts like this from Mike. I figure he is their father-he can learn the truth about his kids too. (sometimes he even has a different way of seeing things-& can convince me that his way is the right one. Not always though!)

Our family has differences of opinion on almost everything-but when it is something big (like a wedding)-they always do the right thing. Maybe they will do it differently than I would have thought-but they do it. And I suspect your kids will too, Dee. All this whining & snivelling is serving a purpose, Dee-it's turning your hair gray!!:womanwink: And you thought the conflicts would be over when they quit fighting over their toys? Tsk Tsk!

Nora

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sat, 02-25-2012 - 10:52pm

For a while, we were ALL guilty of talking about our issues with one another, to everyone EXCEPT the person we had an issue with.

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Sun, 02-26-2012 - 8:35am
Yes, we are all feeling we need to be sensitive to Sandy. She has accepted her loss but seems to be still emotionally shaky at times which is not normally for her. Suddenly, she is wanting a solid family life with everyone engaging visits & texts. We aren't a phone family. We are a busy family & know we can reach out to anyone at anytime if you need something but we don't always connect every day. When she first lost the baby, the boys were reaching out to her almost daily checking to see if she needed anything or wanted to talk. Sometimes she responded sometimes she didn't. Now, she is missing their contact as they move back into their normal lives.

Dee
Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Sun, 02-26-2012 - 8:48am
My kids will always do the right thing. They have no choice as they were brought up that way. They complain that they are out of step with their "me" generation who put themselves first. Hence, Luke's constant dropping out of our family events to hang with his pals. I know this causes conflict between Sandy & Luke but until she can change him, it's her problem.

As for Ian & family conflicts, he just avoids them. He has little to do with his 4 siblings because of the drama in his family. He is the middle child & the battles raged around him without his being involved. He would just leave the house if it got too stressful. He continues with this attitude in our family but then sometimes complains that the kids tell me more about their lives than they do him. Duh!!!

Dee
Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Sun, 02-26-2012 - 9:01am
Our family is normally like what you are describing. Right now, I think the problem is more that James agrees with Andrew's logical decision to save money. So like James but so UNLIKE Andrew to save money. But James is frustrated that it will cause him to change his plans. So James is caught believing Andrew is doing the right thing, knowing he hasn't booked his travel plans but also dealing with his own dislike of change. So he really has nothing to talk to Andrew about & when we talked it through together, he realized that.

As for Andrew not agreeing with Sandy, well that is a first. They are 7 yrs apart & were very close until Sydney came into his life. I think he was struggling with how to tell Sandy he had an issue with her request without hurting her. He knows that Sandy while she likes Syd, is struggling with letting Andrew go. Actually, this is more of a problem for her than for me. The date of the party iis a non issue in reality because I have had it with Luke & will not be changing the date. I'm just not going to share this with Sandy right now as there are a few other more critical issues between Luke & I right now which is making Sandy wish for a nice, happy family life with no conflicts.

Dee