Dear Annie: You’ve printed letters about grandchildren sleeping with the grandparents. What do you think about a 7-year-old boy who sleeps with his mother in her queen-sized bed, displacing his father? Dad sleeps in his daughter’s room (in twin beds).
This young boy is very strong-willed, as is his mother. She’s quite proud of this trait. I know my son, the father, is not happy with this arrangement, but he says no one will get any rest if they make the boy sleep in his own room. This has been going on since the child was born.
I think my son is depressed and unhappy, but lets the situation continue for many reasons, one of which is that his wife supports the family. My son works part time now because his wife demanded that he be available to take the kids to school and pick them up in the middle of the afternoon. So he hasn’t worked full time for three years.
Their lives are dictated by what the kids want or need, and everybody else comes in a distant second. The mother is the dominant personality in the family, and whatever she says goes.
My son says this arrangement must go on until both kids are in middle school. By then, my son will be 41 years old, and I worry that he won’t be able to find full-time employment. I have suggested counseling and offered to pay for it, but he says he has already tried that and it didn’t do any good. Can you give me some advice?
— Worried Grandmother
Dear Worried: We know you are concerned about your son, but which parent stays home is between him and his wife. Nonetheless, if he is unhappy, please urge him to seek counseling. He can do it with or without his wife. He also should talk to the children’s pediatrician about the sleeping arrangements and ask for assistance in getting his wife to recognize that she is doing a great disservice to those children.
Dear Annie: Quite frequently during our Sunday church services, the loud noise of a crying baby or babies makes it difficult to hear the sermon and other portions of the worship service. Instead of removing the child from the service, these families remain no matter how long or loud the child screams.
I do not know whether the parents realize how disruptive this is. I’d be glad to politely speak with them after church, but I cannot see who they are from where I sit. The church leadership does nothing for fear of losing members. I just want to hear the word of God and not crying babies.
— Frustrated with Noise
Dear Frustrated: We are sure some parents would tell you that a crying baby is also a blessing. But there is a time and place for everything. Parents should take their screaming children out of places where they are disruptive and disturbing to others. Suggest to your church staff that they set up a playroom for young children, perhaps supervised by responsible teenage members or volunteers. Some toys and books would go a long way toward making church a pleasant experience for everyone.
Dear Annie: You were too mild with “Upset Landlord, Not Wicked Stepmother,” whose husband’s son moved into his father’s house and isn’t paying any rent.
There are compromises that could start shaping the son’s behavior — such as announcing the end of paying utilities and cable. He’ll pitch a fit, but he’ll survive. But you are right that they should get legal advice about who gets the house when Dad dies.
Dear B.: Those compromises are fine, but only if Dad is willing to cut off payment for cable and utilities. So far, he isn’t.
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