When my parents are on holiday, I take care of their house, it's an arrangement that they and I have had for years now. My brother and sister know this. My parents really don't like it when people come into their home when they're not there, including us. But the yard has to be mown and stuff, so that's the exception to their rule.

Last week my sister sent me a text message asking me if I was at my parents' place. I said no. She replied with: I just wanted to check if you're there, because I figured you wouldn't like it if I came by without notice. I am headed there my way now, just to check on the grass.

Upon entering my parents' house yesterday, I can't escape the notion that she wasn't alone when she went there. All four of the chairs in the garden were moved, so my thought is that she brought the children with her.

Before my parents went on a holiday they told me that they would have a conversation with my brother, letting him know that they wouldn't appreciate him flocking to the house in their absence. I am not sure if they had the same talk with my sister (could be a no, but that would then be because they didn't see the need to tell her, because she just isn't the type of person to do this). I am positive tho, that my parents don't like it if she's there in their absence. This has been a struggle for them for years, because they don't want it to come off as unloving.

Please, no responses to the decision of my parents to whether my parents are right or wrong in this one. I respect their decision. It's their house, not mine.

Since there are a couple of assumptions in this story, I sent my sister a text message yesterday, asking her if my parents told her that it was okay for her (and the kids) to be in their house during their absence. I also wrote: I wouldn't want to be in on something that wasn't supposed to be happening. I also said that they asked me to take care of the garden, so unless they asked her this as well, I don't understand she went over there to check on the lawn. I ended with: please read this message in the kindest way, I don't know how else to phrase this. Love.

Okay. Now she doesn't reply back. Should I have said something different or differently? The relationship between her and me isn't a good one. If it were my brother, I would have confronted him about this without getting anxious over it.

Does anyone have a new perspective on this? Thanks.

  • Hey sara! What is the goal of your question? You ask us if you should've said something different or differently, but without knowing what you are trying to achieve, it's hard to say if you should've/shouldn't. Also, whether or not you should have said something different is a primarily opinion based question; instead of asking whether you should've done things differently, or asking what you should do in general, could you try to rephrase your question to ask about how to reach your goal from here? – Tinkeringbell Jun 24 at 13:27

Children entering their parent's houses as adults is a culturally normal thing, and stopping it is emotionally hard.

Children grow up in a house, and are used to being able to enjoy it. They have years of treating a place as their home. Parents certainly have the right to deny children that, but it's always from my experience with friends who have faced that, a very hard conversation. There's a lot of emotion invested in one's home.

Note to those worrying about this point- many parents do successfully stop children from coming to their house, but this is a drama filled issue. The parents left their house sitter to do this difficult task, which is the issue. The author of this post needs to decide whether to side with their sister or parents, which is a hard emotional decision for the parents to leave them with.

Your parents did some of that, but didn't tell you the details of what they had discussed. They threw you in the middle of this very drama filled situation without giving you background. This means you are in a very drama filled situation.

You being the one, without home owner authority, to tell your sister that she can't come to the home is a serious emotional mess that will likely cause lots of drama. Your parents should have given you clear instructions on this issue, since they knew it would be an issue, and the fact that they didn't means there are no easy ways out.

Your parents should make the decision on this, and ideally the phone call.

Handling interpersonal drama with your sister over a house is an expensive thing to do. It could mean years of drama over you being the 'cruel' sibling who on their own decided to deny them the house. Your parents, ideally, should have an emergency number which they check at times, and make a decision as to what to do, and ideally talk to your sister.

You're not at the house all the time, you can't stop her going in. You can't police her and see if she brings children, and that's a whole level of drama for you. The proper thing is for your parents to make a decision about whether she comes over, and communicate this to you. It's their home, and their drama to raise. As the source notes, getting both sides of a story is key before intervening in a conflict between siblings and parents.

If they want you to police whether she comes with children or not, they should buy a security camera system to monitor the house to make it easier, and tell you.

You handled it fine. This is an emotionally awkward issue. Your parents should be the ones handling this issue, as it's their home.

  • I agree that it's an agreement that my parents' should make with my siblings; you are welcome again when we're in town again, and in the meanwhile we asked Sara to mow the lawn. My turmoil is about the fact that I (highly likely) know that she tresspassed without my parents knowing this, and I feel like an accomplice knowing she betrayed their trust. She texted me back this afternoon, saying: 'I wouldn't worry about this all too much, if I were you'. My blood boils. – sara Jun 24 at 10:43
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    If you tell your parents then you're not an accomplice. You're not a private security force for your parents. If they want to keep relatives off their grass they can hire some ex military types or cops to patrol the grounds or build a wall. Just tell your parents and they can decide what to do, which will probably be a disapproving phone call to your sister. – Nepene Nep Jun 24 at 11:17
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    Hey Nepene! Please take a look at this site's citation expectations: Rules we have for answers on this site, so the site can fit within the Stack Exchange model for good subjective sites. Since no Stack Exchange site is here for discussion/opinions, we request answers to either reference sources or describe their own experiences with the advice they're giving: How did you learn this lesson and how did things go for you? – Tinkeringbell Jun 24 at 13:30
  • I added a source on the issue, noting why it's not a good idea to make decisions about fights between siblings and parents without first consulting both parties. – Nepene Nep Jun 24 at 14:38
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    I wonder who upvotes this answer because it is quite unnormal for adult children to enter parents' house and behave as they wish if parents explicitely don't want that, especially when parents are not present. Furthermore this answer does not deal with the question at all. – puck Jun 25 at 6:11

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