Dear Annie: I have three wonderful young adult children. The oldest two girls both recently graduated from college and are living at home, working and saving money.
The girls were not particularly interested in dating until recently. Our oldest met a guy at work and has fallen hard. She’s always been family oriented, but for the past three months, all she wants to do is be with this guy 24/7. She spends most nights at his place, and we don’t see her at all on the weekends.
This behavior does not sit well with me. I don’t think it’s a good idea to spend the night with your boyfriend so early in the relationship. I also don’t like that she disregards her family, especially her younger sister, with whom she had a close relationship. My position is, if she’s still living at home, she should come home to sleep. She can fool around with this guy the rest of the day.
I understand I may have some old-fashioned values, but allowing my daughter to live with her boyfriend on a part-time basis shows no respect for my position and is hard for me to swallow. I normally have a great relationship with her, but I haven’t seen or spoken to her in more than two weeks.
I’m concerned that if I ask her to have dinner with us more often and spend some time with family on the weekends, she will resent it and it will make matters worse. Am I out of line?
— Concerned Dad
Dear Dad: Be careful, Dad. Your daughter is now a grown woman. The lack of prior dating could be one reason why she is so over the moon for the new boyfriend. You apparently don’t object to her having sex, the too-soon timing of which is not up to you and at this point is moot anyway. You simply miss the girl she used to be.
It’s OK for you to say you don’t wish to subsidize her living with the boyfriend, but we hope you will do so in a loving way, letting her know you miss her at dinnertime. But we also recommend you invite the boyfriend to join you for meals and weekend activities. This will not only encourage your daughter’s participation, but it will allow you to get to know the man who may become your son-in-law.
Dear Annie: My oldest sister is very selfish. She has three young children but never wants to spend any time with them. Sis is in her early 40s and acts as if she’s 16. She is only concerned with herself and what others can do for her.
She and her husband are always going out and foisting their children on everyone else. When we won’t watch her kids, she gets angry and then tells the kids we don’t love them. Unfortunately, Sis lives in the same town as my parents. I’d like to visit my folks, but I prefer to avoid my sister. Is that wrong?
— Helpless Sibling
Dear Sibling: We know it will be difficult, but we urge you to remain civil to your sister for the sake of her children. They need you. Since you don’t live nearby, her selfishness should be manageable in small doses on rare occasion. Please try.
Dear Annie: Thank you for printing the letter from “A Father Who Knows.”
My 9-year-old son is legally blind and has epilepsy. He is often quiet and withdrawn, and leaving the house with him can be quite a task. He is impulsive and often says and does inappropriate things in public. We continually work with him.
I thought I was the only parent who could possibly understand what was going on with my son. I cried reading this letter, because it made me realize that others know my struggles.
— A Coping Mom
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