Q: My daughter asked me if she should have another child, and based on what I have observed with her first, I definitely feel she shouldn’t. I want a polite way to respond without hurting her feelings, but can’t find the words.
She loves her child, but loses patience quickly. She can’t handle it when her 2-year-old whines or cries. Sometimes she needs to leave the house. Can you help? – DEFINITELY NOT IN OREGON
A: Every parent feels this way sometimes. That’s why God invented grandparents and baby sitters. However, if you feel your daughter can’t handle the stress, be honest with her and tell her why you have “concerns.”
Q: My daughter has been friends with twin girls for several years. Their parents are divorced, and we’ve always known that money is tight in their family. We invite them over to eat as often as we can, and they know our home is their home and a safe place.
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The girls are now all applying to colleges, but the twins have repeatedly expressed concern that they don’t have enough money to pay the ACT submission fees or the college submission fees. They are both working long hours and trying to save money for college.
We are in a position to help them submit these applications, but don’t know how to approach the topic. We are not close with either of their parents. Most important, we don’t want to risk a parent telling the girls they can’t spend time at our home. How can we help? – ENOUGH TO SHARE
A: You are generous and compassionate to want to do this. Because the girls spend so much time at your home, it’s likely their parents already know their daughters are friendly with your family. I do not think it would be offensive if you were to call the parents and make the offer. If they are reluctant to accept, you could propose it as a “loan” that can be repaid after the girls graduate.
Q: My father-in-law died a couple of months ago, and since then my mother-in-law insists that one of her kids spend the night with her. She told them that “people” have told her she should not spend a night alone for at least a year.
This is causing grief and bitterness because my husband has explained to her that when he stayed the first two weeks, he left me at home alone, and it was time she started facing things and move on.
What are the obligations of the children when a parent dies? His mother doesn’t need them financially. Are we being too hard on her, or does she need to seek help with moving on? We are afraid that if she keeps this up, she’s going to push herself into an early grave or drive her kids away. – TIRED OF SLEEPING ALONE
A: My deepest sympathy to your mother-in-law for her loss, but it is not the responsibility of an adult child to leave his (or her) spouse to sleep with Mama for a year. A week or two, perhaps – but certainly not a year.
His mother should talk to her clergyperson or doctor about joining a grief support group to help her through this difficult time. And if she’s afraid to be alone in the house – and she’s an animal lover – a solution to that could be for her to adopt a dog from an animal rescue organization.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.