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Hey, Chantal: My Sister Is Totally Milking My Parents For Cash. What Should I Do?

Chatelaine logo Chatelaine 2018-03-07 Chantal Kreviazuk
advice chantal kreviazuk © Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2018. advice chantal kreviazuk

My sister and I were always treated equally but now my parents are totally spoiling her – paying half her rent, taking her shopping, all because she’s “struggling” trying to get a job that pays decently (she’s not trying very hard, in my opinion.). She’s 31 now. I’m 38 and working my ass off, living pay cheque to pay cheque, but they never ask if I could use help. They think I don’t know about the money, but she told me. I’m pissed. What should I do?

This is a terrific question and one that I can relate to well.

My parents are very generous to all of us, but our lots in life are different and I can see where, as parents, they are filling the gaps the best they can. I am now a parent too, and can see how I am, in my way, raising my children differently. One of my sons may someday say to me, “You gave Rowan more, mom!” I might say, well, he seemed to need more.

I think that it’s not worth it to bring it up, unless it’s a battle you would like to pick. If it’s interfering in your ability to be close and enjoy family time, then by all means call a family meeting. Perhaps they don’t know how spread thin you are, and that you’re experiencing some feelings of abandonment and frustration. They might surprise you and tell you they had no idea and are happy to help!

The other option is to stay the course. You’re working hard, and hard work always pays off. You should be proud to be independent, successful and hardworking. Maybe your parents think you have a higher capacity than your sibling. Perhaps compassion is in order! Or, maybe they are enabling her and she would be better serviced by not getting so much from them. Time will tell.

But if it is affecting your love and your ability to function happily, I say share how you feel. Remember to speak to your feelings, but don’t lash out. Ask questions and be open. We don’t always know where these things are even coming from, or if we have the story straight.

Chantal Kreviazuk is an award-winning singer songwriter. She is married to Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida. They have three kids. 

Got a question for Chantal? E-mail us at letters@chatelaine.rogers.com 

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