By accident, my son-in-law spilled automobile oil on my son’s brand new expensive carpet at Christmastime. He responded quickly and offered to have the rug cleaned by a company he found on his iPhone, which was reasonably priced. Nevertheless, My son’s wife insisted that the carpet be sent to a cleaning company specializing in using environmentally safe products that is very expensive. My son-in-law declined to pay the amount asked.
The outcome is that my son and daughter’s spouses refuse to attend the same family gathering together. As the patriarch of the family I’m wondering how to resolve the problem, because my wife and I enjoy having our whole family with us for the Memorial Day, the Fourth and Labour Day holidays so that our grandchildren, who live in different states, can get to know one another. We’ve tried to stay neutral.
All my wife wants for Mother’s Day is to find a solution for keeping the family together. What’s your advice?
–J.L., Nantucket, MA
Keeping family together takes patience, social skills, and awareness of all the family nuances. Not an easy task.
It is up to your son-in-law to pay for the cleaning of the carpet by giving your son a check for the amount he would have paid to use the carpet cleaner of his choice.
It would be disrespectful of your son-in-law to shirk the responsibility. However, don’t confront him at a family gathering. Talk to him ahead of time and as soon as possible, so that you can all put this behind you in time for summer fun.
Encourage your son-in-law to pay something toward the cost of cleaning the carpet. Otherwise this petty little problem will morph and split the family.
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