Dig deeper to learn why mom is such a grouch at care home
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I love my mom, but nobody else can stand her. She’s a bit weird, but she’s delightful company to me as I won’t put up with any of her guff. At the personal care home where she lives, she is cranky and gives everyone grief over every little thing. I don’t now how to change her. I can’t tell everyone at the home to tell her off, like I have had to do. What do you suggest? — Daughter of Grump, Winnipeg
Dear Daughter of Grump: Is she acting like this because she’s scared and throwing out spikes like a porcupine as protection? She does know how to behave well and be charming with someone she loves, such as you, but then, she’s sure of your love. You’ve already had some dust-ups and got past them to find a peaceful balance.
Take her out for a trip somewhere, such as your place, and ask her to tell you what upsets her about the personal care home. I’m guessing she’ll say something such as, “Nobody likes me there. They’d like to get rid of me.” But, If everything she dislikes at the care home is minor, it could be she just wants to live somewhere else — pos- sibly your house.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t want to take her in, but do tell her the truth if that’s not going to happen. She needs to know that she can stop working that angle. Suggest she make a change where she lives. Tell her that treating staff better will help her develop friendships with them and other people who live there. (Right now they will be giving her a wide berth.)
Perhaps she’s bored silly, and doesn’t have enough to do. Try to find out what all is offered in terms of activities and outings and help her get signed up.
Or, do you think she’s depressed? Perhaps you could talk to her doctors about that and a possible change in her medication.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I recently have fallen deeply in love with an amazing man who immigrated to Canada some years ago. He’s warm, loving and passionate with many qualities I’ve always dreamed of finding in a true love; however, he recently disclosed he had a very troubled childhood, with years of physical and emotional abuse.
After many tears, he also revealed that he is essentially illiterate due to his abusers not giving him the opportunity to attend school. He is still a very intelligent, thoughtful man who has a lot of wisdom to share, despite his lack of education. This doesn’t diminish my love or passion for him in any way. As a matter of fact, it makes me furiously protective and loyal to him.
It worries me that others may not be so kind if they find out about this and may think he is not a good match for me since I am an educated, intelligent woman. He has already emotionally healed in so many ways through his loving spirituality, and has a strong supportive network within his community, but he is still deeply ashamed of his lack of education, and I’m only one of a few who know his secret.
I want to help him find the resources for his literacy issues, but he’s a proud man, so there needs to be a certain finesse in finding the right approach. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. — Love Shows No Boundaries, Winnipeg
Dear Love Shows No Boundaries: You’re aware your man needs to learn to read in a very respectful environment. Depending on your personality and his manly pride, you may not be the best person to teach him. The directory for the Manitoba government’s adult learning and literacy department is at gov.mb.ca/all. Click on the “Learners” link on the left to access the full directory of programs available and, if possible, print out the information booklet.
If your sweetheart is willing to work with you on reading, and doesn’t want to go outside home to learn, where he might be discovered, help him! Don’t think you have to use serious-looking easy-English books. An excellent article on the different types of books preferred to use with adults surpris- ingly talks about how boring those textbooks are (find it at literacy.kent. edu/Oasis/Pubs/0200-12.htm). It discusses the uses of picture books with simple writing below that are appealing to everyone from children to adults and includes lists of such books to start you out.
When I taught English as a second language, my students got a kick out of reading words from catalogues, advertising flyers and easy cartoons. Of course, we started out by learning the alphabet, but not all of the letters and sounds at one time. You have to mix it up and keep people smiling. I had my students teach me their languages and songs at the ends of classes to show respect for their different cultures.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Ever since I got caught having a meaningless affair my husband has been sticking me with barbs. Even though I apologized, I can’t do anything right, and he acts like I’m not worthy of his respect. This morning at breakfast our oldest teenager asked why we were always fighting, and my husband said, “I’m not fighting, I’m just pointing out a few things your mother needs to learn.” My son snorted and said, “Well stay together, or break up over the affairs you two have had since I was 13 years old, but stop the constant bickering. I’m out of here at the end of school in June and moving to B.C.” My husband’s mouth flew open. He thought nobody knew about his affair five years ago. I did — that’s why I felt free to get even this summer.
Our son is 18, and although we always said he could to a university outside Winnipeg if he wanted to, we never thought he would leave his friends and family and not go to school after Grade 12. It’s unthinkable. He is a very intelligent kid and an excellent student. His dad and I are in shock. What can we do to make him stay? — Shocked Parent, Winnipeg
Dear Shocked Parent: Your son has been shocked for years. He wants honesty now. Either fix your relationship or break up. Kids aren’t blind or deaf to the hostile behaviours between their parents, although they may be silent, fearing their home will blow apart. Your son had to be at his wits end to speak up to both of you about it, so you’d best believe him when he says he wants to get out of your house and out of town.
Your best move is to call a relationship counsellor today and let your son know you are both going. At some point he may want to go to a counselling session and get out everything he needs to say with a referee in the room. Be aware other kids in the family may know, too. They are not blind or deaf, either. Please send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg,
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