Friend wor­ries about her friends’ trou­bled kids

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - LIFE - AMY Dickinson Email: askamy@tri­ Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: how should i re­spond to par­ents of trou­bled off­spring? th­ese not-so-young adults seem set on de­stroy­ing them­selves or go­ing to jail. Some have com­mit­ted un­speak­able acts and en­dan­gered oth­ers.

Th­ese par­ents and their sons and daugh­ters have been my friends for many years. i saw noth­ing but love in their homes. i am not a par­ent, so i don’t trust my feel­ings here.

In some cases, i am so fu­ri­ous with the of­fend­ers that i don’t think i can be in a room with them with­out go­ing into a rage. they don’t seem to re­al­ize how much their ac­tions im­pact the lives of the peo­ple around them.

When i have a catch-up with my par­ent friends, i wait to see if they men­tion their way­ward prog­eny.

I’m afraid to ask, and yet i feel it seems like i don’t care if i don’t ask. i’m reluc­tant to make a con­nec­tion for fear they think i’m be­ing snoopy. i just want to hang out with my old bud­dies! can you guide me?


Dear Miss My Friends: the way you present this, you are sur­rounded — or feel sur­rounded — by friends and their felo­nious off­spring. i truly hope this is not the case.

Your ques­tion is whether you should ask your friends about their adult chil­dren, in the po­lite way that peo­ple do. the an­swer is “yes.”

It doesn’t seem like snoop­ing if you sim­ply ask, “how is ‘Marta’ do­ing right now?” the friend can ei­ther an­swer in de­tail, or give you a non­com­mit­tal brush back. if you sense ten­sion, you can say, “are you OK with me ask­ing? i don’t want to up­set you, but i want you to know that i care.”

There is no need for you to spend time with of­fend­ers, if it makes you un­com­fort­able or fills you with rage. but when com­mu­ni­cat­ing with th­ese par­ents, leave your harsh judg­ment be­hind. re­gard­less of how you may feel, you should as­sume that they con­tinue to love and care about their chil­dren.

Dear Amy: My wife and i have a blended fam­ily. We both have adult chil­dren from pre­vi­ous mar­riages, and th­ese chil­dren have chil­dren of their own.

Food seems to be our only is­sue. the chil­dren have mixed nu­tri­tional wants: One won’t eat meat, an­other fish, one is vege­tar­ian and an­other fam­ily is ve­gan. their chil­dren seem to be om­ni­vores. dur­ing fam­ily gath­er­ings at our home, we try and ac­com­mo­date ev­ery­one’s pref­er­ence, but it can be dif­fi­cult, as no one is will­ing to budge off their own diet.

how­ever, when we visit their homes, they serve only what they eat and do not take into con­sid­er­a­tion our pref­er­ences. if they are ve­gan, we eat ve­gan.

It seems to be a one-way food street, with us try­ing to go in both di­rec­tions. it can get frus­trat­ing, to say the least.

I’d like to say some­thing to ev­ery­one in­volved, but i don’t know how with­out caus­ing dis­cord. do you have any sug­ges­tions on how to keep ev­ery­one happy? Or, is this not pos­si­ble? — NOT QUITE NOUR­ISHED Dear Not Quite Nour­ished: con­fronting this shouldn’t be an in­sur­mount­able chal­lenge, ex­cept that you are go­ing to have to aban­don the idea of keep­ing ev­ery­one happy. th­ese adults are re­spon­si­ble for their own hap­pi­ness. you only need to rus­tle up some chow.

The sim­plest so­lu­tion is for you to of­fer a ve­gan meal to all dur­ing th­ese group meals. this is the most re­stric­tive diet, and ev­ery­one can eat ve­gan food (cer­tainly for one meal).

Oth­er­wise, as­sign dishes. Send an email to all of the off­spring: “We’re hav­ing trou­ble keep­ing up with ev­ery­one’s di­ets. So we’ll pro­vide meat (and/or fish), roasted pota­toes, and bev­er­ages. can­dace, can you bring a ve­gan dish and a fruit salad to share? Vic­to­ria, can you bring a vege­tar­ian or ve­gan casse­role? bradley, please bring dessert?”

And then yes, when you are at their house, you should eat what they serve. if you need or want to eat meat at the ve­gan or vege­tar­ian fam­ily’s house, then you can bring a dish to sup­ple­ment what they are of­fer­ing.

Dear Amy: i’m disappointed that you told “nanny in need” not to take a dog that had come to the fam­ily she worked for. now the poor dog is be­ing ne­glected by ev­ery­one! — UP­SET

Dear Up­set: the nanny had taken on the dog’s care dur­ing work hours. She should not suc­cumb to pres­sure to take on the dog full time. that’s not a so­lu­tion for ei­ther of them.

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