Lack of Respect for Father

Posted on: June 19th, 2011 by Richard Cressman

My question for Richard

My brother and I want to take over the farm from our father. We cash crop about 900 acres and also milk 110 cows. I get along well with my brother. He is three years older than I am. I get along reasonably well with my father. The issue is, my brother and my dad seem to be at each other’s throats all the time. My brother does not have respect for our father. We have tried to hold family meetings but after two or three meetings they will not sit down to talk anymore. Where do I go from here?


Richard’s Reply

You have identified a power struggle between your father and your brother as a key component that needs to be resolved for you and your brother want to farm. The reasons why these two do not get along is complex. The issue of respect is difficult to define, but when you ask parents how they interpret respect from the children, it comes down to the issue of the child acknowledging that the parent has done as good job as possible in raising the children and giving them opportunities. It sounds like your brother is not acknowledging that your father has tried to do his best.

The difficult part for you in this situation is that it sounds like your father is not willing to turn control over to your brother until your dad is confident that your brother can indeed make good decisions. Your father probably interprets your brother’s lack of respect as an inability to make good business decisions. Your brother may be an excellent farmer already, but until he is willing to acknowledge that for him to farm he needs acknowledge that your dad has done the best that he could in raising his children and in building his business.

There are very few parents who would not do things differently if given the opportunity to go back and raise their children again.

Your brother has some issues that he needs to resolve. You can possibly help. For starters, ask him if he will sit down with you and write out the times he has felt cheated, or left out, or not listen to by your father. Something will come up while he is making this list that will give him a clue as to why he feels like he does towards your dad.

If you can talk to your father about this, have him list the situations where he could have paid more attention to your brother’s input. If you can get the two of them to sit down and talk about their differences after they have done some of this homework you may have discovered the key to resolving these two warriors being at each other’s throats.

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