Dear Amy: Our daughter has two daughters who are one year apart.
She very obviously favors the younger one.
Examples: She features a picture of only the younger one on her phone screen. We will talk at night with our granddaughters and when talking to the younger, the older one is always getting yelled at for something, while heaping positive attention onto the younger one.
Our daughter goes shopping with the younger one all the time while the older one stays home with dad.
I asked, “Why not take the older one?” She said the older daughter isn’t interested. I’m thinking: “Well, make her go!”
When the girls are with us overnight, I purposely favor the older one.
My husband plays with the younger while I seek out the older one, hug her, snuggle, and give her lots of love.
Am I wrong to try to make up for six days of favoritism to the younger with one day of favoritism for the older?
I can’t say anything to our daughter because I’m afraid to offend her and then we would never see the girls.
— Loving Grandma
Dear Grandma: If your daughter would respond to respectful observational feedback from her own mother by denying access to the children, then your issues might be larger than this imbalance of attention.
You sound very sensitive regarding the topic of favoritism. I’m not sure that leaving one child home from shopping because she doesn’t want to go is an example of … anything, but I agree that overt parental favoritism has a negative effect on the entire family — look at what it is doing to your own!
You see that mom favors the youngest, so you favor the eldest.
I agree that it is compassionate and loving to treat your elder granddaughter with lots of attention. Every child wants to be recognized as an individual and appreciated for their unique presence. Every child wants to be “seen” — especially by a treasured grandparent.
This includes your younger granddaughter. It would be a good example for both girls if you sometimes treated them as a team, promoting balance and togetherness, while finding some special time to spend with each.
Dear Amy: I have one sister and no other siblings. My parents have been divorced for 28 years and live in the state I grew up in.
Approximately 18 years ago, my sister followed me to the same city I have been living in for approximately 24 years. One reason she allegedly moved was to be closer to my children, although she never really saw them more than a few times a year for birthdays and holidays.
After cutting both of my parents out of her life in 2019, she cut me out of her life in 2021. She was angry that I took her to the hospital during a very serious manic episode. She has no contact with my children.
I love her, but I have come to accept that given her mental illness, I will never be able to do enough for her, and I no longer wish to ride her roller coaster of false accusations and the other drama she invites into her life on a regular basis.
I am the power of attorney for our father, who lives in an independent living center that I arranged for him.
While he is not at death’s door, I know that I will be the person in charge of making his end-of-life arrangements when the time comes.
Given the fact that my sister has been estranged from both parents for three years and no longer communicates with me and my family, what, if any, are my obligations to inform her of my parents’ passing when the time ultimately arrives?
— Hurt and Confused
Dear Hurt: In the event of your parents’ death, you are obligated to inform your sister. You are not obligated beyond that, nor are you responsible for her behavior or choices.
I state that in my sincere belief that you would regret it if you didn’t.
Dear Amy: “Wife Looking for Answers” was terrified by her husband’s reckless driving. We faced this, too. Our solution came from our insurance company. We installed a “Drive Safe and Save” device and have an app on our phones.
It monitors your speed, acceleration, cornering, braking and phone distraction. Tracking the data became a game.
When our insurance rates dropped from good driving, we were both happy!
— Safe Solution
Dear Safe: Several readers suggested this. “Gamifying” safe driving seems to work.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, In The Know, to get entertainment news sent straight to your inbox.