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The turd in the punch bowl

My two sons don’t get along. Should I invite them all for Thanksgiving anyway?

Our elder is not convinced this is a good idea.

Dear EWC

Our older son and his wife have had a strained relationship with us. I message them because I care and love them, and they graced us with a grandson who is four. Things haven’t been good between us for far too long. Thanksgiving is coming up and I really wish I could invite them, but if I do it will cause too much friction. Our younger son and his girlfriend graced us with a baby girl. The boys’ relationship is strained at best. I have been married to my best friend for 35 years. My husband has had heart attacks and other serious health problems.I would love for our family to try being cordial and enjoy our time together. I try to put on a smile but inside I am weeping. I told my husband that I wouldn’t invite our older son because when I talked to him about it he told our younger son and that made him grumble. It was three against me. If I asked my older son and his family to come I think they may feel the friction, and feel like they are the turd in the punch bowl. Any advice you can give would be awesome.

Terry-Anne replies

Thank you for writing to Elder Wisdom Circle for some advice. Sadly, at this time of year, we receive many letters like yours. Everyone longs for a “Norman Rockwell” scene for Thanksgiving only to be disappointed by long-standing conflicts with family members.

My best advice to you is not to invite relatives who you know won’t be able to get along. Clearly, you know there will be problems so the best thing to do is keep people away from one another. I know how heartbreaking it is when the family members we love fail to get along. Believe me, I have similar problems with an in-law who has caused a lot of sadness and disappointment.

I know it would be a lot of extra work for you to have another get together. I think it would be nice if you had one son on Thanksgiving and the other on Sunday. These boys have their own issues that they need to work out on their own. Believe me when I say there is nothing you can do or say to “fix” their problem. Also, don’t try to explain one to the other. I have found that that does not work. It only increases the resentment. It is so sad that they can’t put aside their differences for a few hours. Everyone makes choices and they have made the choice to carry around a burden of hurt and resentment. Keep in mind that when people choose behavior they also choose the consequences. Unfortunately, those consequences often affect others, like you and your husband.

If you believe in prayer, then I suggest that you pray for both of your sons. Pray for the best outcome in their lives and pray for healing.

I hope my advice is helpful and that you will contact Elder Wisdom Circle again if you need us. We are always here.

Letter #: 431748
Category: Children

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