Can a sibling prevent you from seeing an elderly parent
Is it legally possible for a sibling to stop you from seeing an elderly parent
Yes, it is legally possible for a sibling to prevent you from visiting mom or dad.
Laws vary by state, but generally, adult children have the right to decide who can and cannot visit their parents.
This can be done through a legal document called “guardianship.”
The parent would have made provision in the past to appoint a sibling to have legal guardian status.
Guardianship allows one sibling to be given authority over the others regarding making decisions about the parent’s care.
This occurs only when the elderly parent is incapacitated and can no longer make their own decisions.
If you feel that your siblings are preventing you from visiting your parents, speak to an elder law attorney about challenging guardianship.
3 reasons why one sibling stops others from visiting mom and dad
1. The adult child may feel that they are the only one who can properly care for the elderly parents
Sometimes one child does all the heavy lifting and assumes the caring role.
The child closest to the elderly parent may assume an important primary caregiver role.
The adult child may feel that the other siblings are not taking the situation seriously enough.
Or that they are not doing enough to help with aging parents.
The adult child may also feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of taking care of their parents.
They feel that having other siblings come and visit will only add to their load.
In some cases, there may be feelings of resentment when siblings don’t help with aging parents.
2. The adult child may feel that they are protecting elderly parents from siblings
The adult child may feel that they are protecting older parents from siblings who may be less understanding or supportive.
They feel that their siblings refuse to provide assistance for elderly parents due to negative past relationships or current difficulties between the adult child and parent.
3. The siblings arguing about paying for an aging parent’s care
Sometimes siblings disagree about how much care is needed.
This can cause conflicts over decisions being made about the parent’s care.
There are disagreements about how money should be spent, or simply a lack of communication.
One sibling may want to move the ailing parent into a nursing home.
Another sibling wants to take care of them at home or have them in assisted living facilities.
The siblings may also disagree about how often to visit the parents and what type of care they should receive from health care professionals.
There may be differences in paying for the cost of housing care for elderly parents as financial care costs is a sensitive subject for other family members.
Points to consider include:
- how much money should a person spend on in-home care for an older loved one
- how to split costs equally between siblings
Frequently asked questions
What is a Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney
(POA) is a legal document that appoints a person to act on another person’s behalf.
This person is known as the “attorney-in-fact” or “agent.”
The POA gives the agent authority to make decisions on the behalf of the individual who granted the power.
It includes decisions about finances, health care, and living arrangements.
This is often used when an elderly parent needs someone to make decisions for them.
For example, as what type of care they should receive or what medications they should take.
It can be helpful to have a POA in place so that there is no confusion about who is responsible for making decisions for the parent.
Click here for a more comprehensive explanation of the different types of POAs, other legal documents and their uses.
How to resolve conflict between siblings
There are a few things that you can do if you are the sibling prevented from visiting mom and dad.
Try communicating with your siblings to get an understanding of why they are preventing you from visiting.
If there is a valid reason, such as a disagreement about how to care for parents, try to negotiate a compromise that works for all siblings.
When there is no clear reason for the blockage, or if negotiations fail, seek legal assistance or other professional help to resolve the strained relationships.
How should the caregiver communicate they need help
The caregiving process may not be obvious to other family members.
If siblings live far away from their parents they can no longer provide in-person support.
However, they have the option to provide financial advice to others to plan appointments, prepare meals, and provide emotional support.
Financial assistance is often necessary for paying part-time housework and provides respite for an overworked caregiver.
Ultimately, your priority should be ensuring that your parents receive the best possible care.
This means working through disagreements with your siblings.
What causes sibling alienation
1. The alienation may be intentional
One sibling can be actively trying to prevent siblings from coming together as a family of caregivers.
This might be done out of jealousy or anger, or in an attempt to gain control over the parent.
2. Deterioration of sibling relationships over time
The relationship between the siblings may have deteriorated to the point where they no longer want anything to do with each other.
This can be due to fights, resentment, or simply growing apart.
3. The parents may have encouraged the alienation
This is either intentional or unintentional.
They might do this by favoring one child over the others, or by not enforcing rules consistently.
This can create tension and bitterness between siblings.
The parent’s favorite is more likely to alienate the other, while the excluded one may become resentful and act out.
Parents may also unintentionally encourage alienation when they don’t take the time to listen and understand each of their children.
The parents not paying attention to personal issues that could be causing tension between siblings.
What are the signs of a toxic sibling
1. They always put themselves first
The toxic sibling always puts themselves first because they want to maintain control over the situation.
They enjoy having a lot of power and influence in the family.
If they allow other siblings to visit, it could disrupt the balance of power.
The toxic sibling also likely enjoys having all the attention focused on them.
By keeping other siblings away, they can keep the spotlight shining brightly on themselves.
2. They are never wrong
The toxic sibling is never wrong because they always manage to make themselves the victim.
They will twist any conversation to make it seem like they are the one who is being wronged.
This is even if they were the one who started the argument.
They can be very convincing, so other siblings may start to doubt themselves.
The toxic sibling will also play on any family dynamics, such as guilt or pity, to get what they want.
They may also try to control the visits or use them as a way to get back at their siblings.
3. They are always negative and critical
The toxic sibling is always negative and critical because they want to control the family and get their way.
They are probably jealous of the other siblings and try to bring them down.
This sibling may also have a lot of resentment towards their parents which they take out on the other siblings.
How to deal with a vindictive sibling
1. Talk to the sibling about your feelings
Explain why you would like them to stop blocking other siblings from visiting.
Talk to the sibling about their feelings and why they are acting this way.
This will help to understand their motivations and hopefully resolve the issue.
2. Try to find a way to work around them
This may include planning visits when the vindictive sibling is not home.
Don’t give in to their demands as they will continue their behaviour and it will only get worse.
3. Seek outside support
If both of the previous methods fail, it may be necessary to seek outside help to resolve the conflict.
Get a friend or therapist to mediate between you and the person you are in conflict with.
Consider using a professional counselling service to get advice on how to handle the situation.
You can also find support groups online that provide helpful advice and resources for dealing with conflicts.
What are the most common causes of sibling conflict
The 3 most common causes of sibling conflict are:
1. Competition for parental attention and resources
Siblings compete for parental attention and resources because they are often a source of security and support for children.
When parents are unable to provide these things, siblings may argue or fight over who gets what.
Parents focusing more of their attention on one child causes the other children to feel left out or ignored.
This can also lead to resentment and conflict.
This can be a difficult experience for children and can cause lasting damage to the relationship between siblings.
2. Jealousy over siblings’ achievements
When one sibling excels in a particular area, it may make the other siblings feel like they are not good enough.
This can lead to arguments and hostility between them.
It can be difficult for siblings to share the love and attention of their parents when one child is doing better than the others.
This can also cause tension and conflict.
3. Anger over perceived injustices
Sibling conflict can often be traced back to anger over perceived injustices.
One sibling feels that they have been treated unfairly or that their rights have been violated
This can lead to a lot of resentment and bitterness.
It can create a huge rift between adult siblings and prevent them from getting along.
The conflict may be so intense that one sibling may completely cut the other off from seeing their parent.
This can be a very sad situation for all involved and it is often difficult to resolve.