My sister has always been very selfish. She’s five years younger than me – I’m 37 – and has always been babied and spoilt by my parents.
We both have husbands and kids – I have one son and she has a boy and a girl.
My parents are very generous to the grandchildren in terms of their time and money, but I feel my sister takes advantage of them.
She dumps her kids on them for days at a time while she and her husband go off on holiday.
My parents never complain or say no, despite the fact that my mother has a heart condition.
Whenever my sister’s family stay at our parents’ house, she lets Mum and Dad get up at 6am to look after the kids, while she lies in bed.
It makes my blood boil, but what can I do without causing a big argument?
My parents help me out with babysitting for the odd night, but I would never dream of expecting them to act like unpaid childminders. What do you think?
I think you can avoid a showdown by talking to your sister and your parents individually.
A big part of the problem is that your parents can’t say no, so your sister will just carry on taking advantage.
Ask your mum and dad how they really feel about having your sister’s kids for long stays and if it’s taking a toll on their health.
If they are struggling with it, then remind them that it’s OK to say no when it doesn’t suit them or they’re not feeling up to it.
It sounds like your sister isn’t that sensitive to other people’s needs, but start by asking her how she thinks your mum is doing health-wise.
Then perhaps you can say you’re worried because you feel she takes on too much.
Plant the seed – it might be enough to make your sister think twice.
If not, and you’re genuinely worried about your mum, you’re just going to have to bite the bullet and be direct with your sis – she’ll get over it.
* More of our agony aunt Coleen Nolan’s advice on your sex, family, health and relationship problems