Sibling Rivalry and Resentment - When Siblings Don't Help

Sibling Rivalry and Resentment - When Siblings Don't Help

You know your brothers and sisters love your elderly parent just as much as you do, but if they do, why is it you're the only one that provides regular and consistent care?

It's extremely difficult for one sibling in a family unit to bear the lone responsibility of caring for an aging parent or parents. It's even more frustrating when other family members live in the same community.

In many cases, the older child or the one that lives closest to the parent is often unofficially chosen to be the one to care for their parents, but this is unfair and can cause family difficulties and riffs. Sibling rivalry and resentment can often develop.

Am I the Only One Who Cares?

You are not alone. Many caregivers ask themselves that question every day. Despite the proximity of family and friends, you seem to be the only one who provides for the needs of a parent on a consistent basis.


What issues are difficult to talk about with Mom, Dad or your siblings? Are your siblings always complaining to you? Click here to see what others are saying and tell us what's happening.


 It's fairly easy to understand how you get into this position if siblings are scattered in other states and you're the one who lives closest to mom or dad, but what happens when you're the only one that cares for a parent and you have siblings that live relatively close by? This may help cause sibling rivalry and resentment as well.

Dealing with siblings that won't help, either financially, physically or emotionally, can be a tricky and sensitive issue. As the caregiver providing for your parent's needs, you want to do what's best for your parent. Let's face facts; it's extremely difficult to bear this burden alone.

You have your own family to take care of, and have a job, so when are you supposed to find the time to care for your mom's needs or take your dad shopping, while at the same time dealing with the demands of your own family and work responsibilities?

In such situations, it's common for a caregiver to feel alone and abandoned. Feelings of helplessness and stress eventually grow into feelings of sibling rivalry resentment and anger, not only toward your siblings, but maybe even your parent. Do your best to prevent this from happening.

Working with your Brother and Sister to Prevent Sibling Rivalry and Resentment.

Your mother is in the hospital with a broken arm, or your dad is laid up with a broken hip. The family doctor suggests that your parent be moved into a long-term care facility or nursing home, but you don't want to see that happen.

You may have siblings who live nearby, who have taken the time to visit the parent in the hospital, but you seem to be the main spokesperson in charge of making decisions regarding their care.

Before your parent is discharged, you all meet at your mom's house for a family meeting. After all, certain things need to be discussed and considered.

Some of the most common questions that need to be answered in such a situation include:

  • What's Mom or Dad going to need in terms of day-to-day care?
  • What is their financial situation? Is mom or dad going to be able to afford necessary at-home care?
  • Who's going to cook for mom or dad?
  • Who's going to get mom or dad to their medical appointments?
  • Do we need to adapt the house to make it more senior friendly?

You and your siblings spend an hour or two discussing these and other issues and decide it's best to bring the parent home, and everyone agrees to pitch in to pay for any extra services that are needed, such as home health aides, physical therapy visits, and anything else that Medicare or personal health insurance doesn't cover.

As the oldest, or as the sibling that was closest to the parent, you agree to pass along information to the siblings regarding mom or dad's prognosis, and needs. Everyone's happy. Sibling rivalry and resentment is averted.

sibling rivalry resentment

Reality Sets In

After mom comes home from the hospital or dad gets released from the rehab center, reality sets in. Dutifully, you visit every day, and before you know it, find yourself going shopping, taking mom or dad to doctor's appointments, cleaning the house, and doing the yard work. But where are your siblings?

Dividing up duties and responsibilities for family members who live nearby is not easy, but communication is the key. Don't assume your siblings know how difficult this endeavor is. Don't assume that they know exactly what they're supposed to do or how they can help. Call your siblings, discuss your concerns, and let them know that you need help. Don't assume that they can read your mind or know what's going on. If necessary, call another family meeting and if they won't come to you, it's your job to go to them.

Don't give up, don't get angry, but let them know about your burdens, fears, and concerns.

The responsibility for caring for an aging parent should not fall on one person's shoulders, but should be a shared responsibility of all siblings in a family regardless of how far or how close they live to the parent. Guard against and be watchful for sibling rivalry and resentment, now before care begins.

Sibling Rivalry and Resentment as Caregiver to Elderly Parents Anger and Resentment

Do you resent being the "chosen one" caregiver to your elderly parent?

Are you angry that your siblings do not contribute as much as they should? Mom and Dad expecting too much?

Read below what others are saying and make a comment on their subject or create your own to get advice from other readers in the group!

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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