Advice Columns

Dear Abby: Aunt resents being drafted to baby-sit

Q: I live with my parents and am not fond of children. My father volunteers me to baby-sit my nieces while they are right in front of us and before I have a chance to discuss anything. If I stand up for myself and say no, my father lays a guilt trip on me and tells the kids that their aunt is “being mean.”

I’m grateful that my parents took me in after I graduated from university, which has allowed me to work on a second degree. However, when I am volunteered to do something I don’t enjoy, like entertain the kids, my father somehow always manages to leave the house. He often lectures me about things I should do or things others should do, but he never does any of them himself. His excuse is that he works to support us financially.

Am I being ungrateful and should I grin and bear it? Or should I do an intervention with Dad when the kids aren’t over? — Overtired Aunt

A: Assuming that you have told your father your feelings, he may feel that because he supports you, he has the right to volunteer your services. What might work would be to tell your sibling how you feel about being trapped into doing it, and about kids in general. I know I wouldn’t want any children of mine to be around someone who resents having to care for them. Perhaps your sibling will feel the same.

Q: I have had cancer for 12 years. This will be my last year. The chemo treatment was getting stronger and making me sick longer. I told most of my siblings that I decided on no more chemo. The doctor warned my daughter eight months ago that there will be no stopping the progression of my disease.

My daughter has a lot on her plate right now, finding and buying a house, getting a new job and planning her wedding for next year. I have tried to help her plan for my death, but it only upsets her.

I feel great and better each day since I have been off the chemo. I have a positive attitude about the short future that’s ahead of me. So how do I tell my daughter this is my last year? — Living and Loving Life in New England

A: I’m sorry about your prognosis. Few people welcome the idea of their parents’ passing, but it is a subject that needs to be discussed.

A way to get the message across to your daughter would be to call a family meeting so that she will have emotional support when she hears about your decision. Announce that you are feeling better than you have in a long time because you are no longer having chemo, and make clear what your wishes are in the event of your death.

Right now your daughter is understandably focused on herself. Do not expect that she will take the news well and be sure to have your plans in writing so there will be no confusion among family members later.

Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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