Dear Amy: I have come to the conclusion that my son-in-law is a bum.
My daughter gives birth, nurses her babies, works a full-time job, cooks, cleans, and shuttles the kids where they need to go.
He quit a job without finding a new job first, and has now been unemployed for months.
I thought it was bad when his only responsibility was his 9-to-5 job and he did nothing beyond that. Now he is unemployed, but now his only responsibility is his six softball leagues and the various corn hole tournaments he plays in during the evenings. He watches TV all day long.
He is mildly verbally abusive to me and my daughter. His favorite phase is that things are “not in his job description.”
Things like braces, cars and college were things I worked hard to provide my children with, but I guess he figures I will pay for his kids to have those things.
Or he doesn’t care at all.
It is ruining my relationship with my daughter and my grandchildren.
I still work and now am very resentful in regards to helping them with childcare and paying for extras like ballet classes, clothing and shoes, while he plays softball.
I guess I need therapy and a trust attorney to deal with these concerns.
— Miserable Grandma
Dear Miserable: You could cope with this better if you understood and accepted that your daughter is making a series of choices. Her choice to martyr herself to a husband who sounds like a selfish deadbeat must seem puzzling to you, but your role here is not to fix her life.
In fact, unless your daughter comes to you with complaints, or for advice and financial gifts or bailouts, there is no need for you to weigh in at all. A complete lack of pressure or (expressed) judgment or shame from you might actually inspire her to take a long look at the reality of her life.
Your daughter has already established that she can run a household as a single parent. In fact, she sounds impressive.
She has options, and she can make changes if she wants her life to be different.
Don’t agree to anything if you are going to resent it and then make her “pay” in other ways.
You might offer to take the kids for an overnight on Fridays (a very helpful gesture), but otherwise let her know that unless it is a true emergency, she will have to make other arrangements for childcare.
Ballet lessons might make a nice special-occasion gift — but with unemployment at a low 3.6 percent, if the children need shoes, then perhaps their able-bodied dad can figure out a way to provide.
Establish respectful and loving boundaries and focus on maintaining a positive relationship with the children.
Yes, therapy (for you) will help.
Dear Amy: My problem is that my daughter (who is 41 years old) does not want to get a mammogram.
Every time I mention it to her, she dismisses me and wants to change the subject.
The truth is that she needs to take care of herself, and I have said it many times.
There are many aunts and her grandmother (on her father’s side) who have had breast cancer.
She also works in the healthcare field and knows about the risks of breast cancer.
I don’t know how to get through to her.
It’s really bothering me, and I don’t know what to do to convince her.
Can you please give me some advice about how to help her?
— Upset Mother
Dear Upset: Your daughter has important reasons to get a mammogram — after all, she has a family history of cancer (through her father’s side).
This family history is also why she avoids testing.
You may not comprehend the fear she feels. But she does not know the incredible feeling of relief she will feel when she gets a clean scan.
It takes 10 minutes and then boom — you’re good!
Ask her if she would be willing to have you make the appointment for her and then take her to it. Stress to her the weight lifted off and the relief she will feel afterward.
Dear Amy: Your response to “Hands Off” was woefully inadequate.
Her friend’s “handsy” husband kissed her without her consent.
If this happens again, a swift kick to the groin is called for.
— Get Real
Dear Real: A swift kick might be called for, but I believe there are less violent ways to handle this appropriately.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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