“I’d rather live in a gutter” is what an elderly mother once said in response to her seven adult children fighting over her rather expensive care. Money wasn’t the issue, but the conflict lived on. Mediation was ultimately the answer. However, the mother, who previously had a happy family, had to endure years of turmoil, guilt, and a fractured family that she loved so much. Dementia doesn’t protect our elders from emotional upheaval.
While it is sad to watch family members decline, it is also an opportunity for the next generation to make the last years of their parents’ lives
as peaceful as possible.
How do we do that?
• If arguments start happening, bring in a mediator sooner rather than later. Many families wait until there is litigation and that’s too late.
• A family counselor can also be helpful to provide a sounding board so that all voices can be heard. In that way, it is similar to mediation,
however, a real resolution is less likely to be reached.
• Remember that the fear, pain, sadness, and guilt under the surface are what is really driving the conflict. Because we aren’t generally fully
in touch with our pain, we control and blame as a way to feel as though we are “doing something”. Being compassionate toward siblings that are in their own grieving process, even if it’s clumsy, can be a way out.
• Stepping away, self-care, meditation, and taking a walk are ways to allow ourselves some time to reboot. This may result in lessened anger,
frustration, and stress among family members which in turn promotes more understanding of everyone’s feelings.
• Shift the focus to Mom or Dad. They have the most to deal with and a limited amount of time to do it in. They crave harmony, peace,
and comfort. With their adult children flighting, they have very little peace, feel helpless, and feel like they are breaking up the family. No
one wants to feel that they are a burden. Similarly, they don’t want to feel that they are causing conflict in a family to whom they dedicated
This does require a certain amount of selflessness, letting go of ego, and seeing a bigger picture. All of this is good for our personal
growth. In the families I’ve worked with, I’ve seen a high degree of success, especially if mediation is started early in the process. Litigation is
polarizing and expensive, emotionally as well as financially. A smaller amount of money invested early gets results.
I can provide information about out-of-court conflict resolution in divorce, custody/ parenting time, parenting coordination, families,
marriages, workplace disputes, businesses, trusts, and estates, real estate, homeowners associations, as well as problem-solving between
As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® and Parent Coordinator, I am qualified to help you sort through the myriad of child and financial
issues that you may be encountering.
I am here to support you. Tricia Morris – 808.283.7811 – Tricia@TriciaMorris.com / www.TransformConflicts.com