Unfortunately, everyone isn't blessed with a wonderful extended family. As a teenager, I would marvel at families who seemed to get on just fine, coming together at any given moment for an impromptu gathering simply because they wanted to be together. I longed for that sense of belonging. For the satisfaction of knowing that you not only had your mom and dad, but your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Even today, I envy those close-knit families.
Remembering all the discord among family members got me thinking about the best way to handle my own children in the event that relationships among relatives went South. In recent years, my husband and I have had the unfortunate opportunity to evaluate some of our own family relationships and decide how best to proceed. It's interesting how the passing of a loved one can bring out the worst in people.
For this reason we chose to withdraw from family gatherings and have continued to do so for the last three years. Our daughters are confused and ask frequently about their cousins, wanting to know why they no longer see them. They know that relationships are strained, but have no firm details about the nature of the riff. We intend to keep it that way as we don't want to sour them.
What's the best way to explain adult disputes to children without turning them against family members?