Our son forbids us to tell his sister about the new baby

Dear Amy: I have three children in their 30s. My oldest son and my middle daughter have been very angry at each other for more than a year.

In my opinion, my daughter is maybe 70 percent responsible and this son is 30 percent responsible. Neither will admit any fault or apologize. They don’t want to be in each other’s presence.

Nothing my wife or I do helps.

Son No. 1 and his wife will be having their first baby in four months, and so far, he is saying that we can’t tell our daughter.

We host birthdays and holidays at our house. I say invite them all and if they don’t want to come, so be it.

Son No. 2 (who is not involved in this drama) is having a birthday, which we will celebrate at our home. Son No. 1 won’t come because our daughter is attending but wants to host a later event for his brother.

It looks like something similar is being proposed for Christmas.

I’m not interested in enabling this mess by attending second events at which my daughter isn’t invited or by disinviting her.

I want to tell my daughter about the birth of our first grandchild because it is a family thing.

My wife is more interested in doing what Son No. 1 wants. In part this is because he lives a block from us, and my wife doesn’t want him to take out his anger at us by not having us be close to their child. (He hasn’t threatened this, but she is nervous.)

Any suggestions?

Disgusted Dad

Dear Dad: I’m with you on this. You present Son No. 1 as being the primary powerhouse in perpetuating this unhealthy dynamic, and if that is true, then I’d say that he is quickly closing the “at-fault” gap with his sister.

I’m sorry your family is experiencing this. Estrangement among family members (and now the threat of same) seems to be on the rise — at least judging from the contents of my (virtual) mailbag.

You seem concerned but stalwart, but your wife’s fears will only enable your eldest son to tighten the grip and manipulate and control the entire family. This nonsense about not “letting” you announce the upcoming birth of your grandchild is … ridiculous. He does not sound mature enough to be a father.

In terms of your wife, I suggest that you both keep this in mind: Any time you make a decision based on fear, the outcome will not serve anyone well.

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