Tips for Improving Communication with Siblings During a Senior Move
There are many emotions involved when moving your parents. These emotions can cause communication between siblings to be more complicated and difficult. Whether you have an excellent relationship or a rocky relationship with your brothers and sisters it is not always easy to communicate during your parents’ right sizing.
Moves for Seniors wants to help you find the best way to communicate with your siblings with these tips. Take a look at these great ways to increase communication and figure out what works best for you and your family.
The first tips are things that you should do before you speak with your siblings.
• Make a list of talking points. Before you try to speak with your siblings, write down exactly what you want to talk about. It can be overwhelming when everyone gets together and you may forget what it is you wanted to talk about, so write it all down and bring the list to your meeting.
o Come up with questions that reiterate what you have talked about so far.
• Find a non-stressful location to meet. If you have an already rocky relationship with your siblings, do not plan to meet at someone’s house that has bad memories or a restaurant that you had an awful argument – find somewhere you have never been and that is central to all family members.
• Do not bring your parent(s). It is hard enough for all of the siblings to discuss their feelings about moving mom and dad without mom and dad there expressing their feelings. Meet without your parents first and figure out what you all want and then bring mom and dad.
• Turn off all distractions. Put your phone on silent and turn off your tablet.
The next list of tips will help during the conversation.
• Let one person talk at a time. Everyone has their thoughts and feelings that they want to share, so let them. Do not interrupt or make comments while someone is speaking. Save your thoughts for when they finish.
• Provide positive feedback. After one of your siblings has given their thoughts, give feedback but make sure it is positive (at least to start with). If they feel your mom would be best suited to live on her own in an apartment, but you feel they would be better in a senior living apartment, mentioned how the apartment is a good idea first then wait to bring up your thoughts on senior living.
• Express negative thoughts in a positive way. This goes directly with the idea above. It is important to express your thoughts even if they are negative. Try telling your brother/sister that you really like their idea of doing a DIY move for mom but that you want to hire movers to do all the heavy lifting. This is positive because you agree with their idea of a DIY move but you think you could benefit from hiring laborers.
• Compromise. This also goes with the last two bullets. Compromising is a huge way to create effective communication. You need to come to the meeting with the idea that your siblings are not going to agree with everything that you say, so plan on compromising on certain areas.
• Say no if necessary. When you made your list before you met with you siblings, you came up with talking points and you planned on compromising on certain areas, but then there are areas that you feel strongly about, so make that clear to your family. But if it is something you feel strongly about and others do not, make sure you are aware that you will need to move forward with it on your own (with their OK of course).
• Walk away. If things get heated between everyone, get up and walk away. Do not say something you will regret. Excuse yourself and calm down. This is the best way to handle your anger during an important family conversation without causing any more unwanted problems.
And remember that mom and dad will have an opinion as well. You and your siblings may come up with a plan, but keep in mind, your parents may have their own plan that you will need to respect and communicate with as well.
The most important thing to remember is respect each other’s opinion and thoughts. You may not agree with everything everyone has to say but listen and show respect and everything should turn out!