Read­ers urged to let grand­par­ents stay in kids’ lives

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - Carolyn Hax

While I’m away, read­ers give the ad­vice.

On sev­er­ing the tie with the in-laws/grand­par­ents be­cause your spouse has died:

Not long af­ter break­ing the news to me that his girl­friend was preg­nant, my 18-year-old son was mur­dered. One of the things that helped me main­tain some nor­malcy in my life is that I had to help pro­vide for my fu­ture grand­daugh­ter.

Seven­teen years later, I have been per­mit­ted by her mother to play a great part in my grand­daugh­ter’s life — so much so that my grand­daugh­ter thinks of me more as a fa­ther than her grand­fa­ther. With­out her mother’s de­vo­tion to and un­der­stand­ing of fam­ily con­nec­tions, my life would not have been the same. To this day, when I see my pre­cious baby girl, it’s like I still have my son with me. My ad­vice is to please let the grand­par­ents main­tain a con­nec­tion with their grand­kids. — J. On that ex­is­ten­tial stumper, “Do I really have to?”:

Many, many years ago, when I asked whether I had to turn in a prob­lem set, my math teacher said to me: “The only thing you have to do in this world is die.”

I re­mind my­self of that when­ever I feel put upon or forced into an un­com­fort­able po­si­tion. It helps me re­al­ize that, in al­most ev­ery sit­u­a­tion, there is a choice to be made, and I’m the one mak­ing it. It’s very em­pow­er­ing. — Anony­mous On be­ing the only one mak­ing an ef­fort to save the mar­riage:

If some­one really is con­sid­er­ing leav­ing the mar­riage, one tech­nique is to go find a good di­vorce lawyer and have an ini­tial con­sul­ta­tion, which is usu­ally free. Also find a good mar­riage coun­selor, have a ses­sion or two by your­self to be sure you feel you can work with him or her.

Then hand your spouse a busi­ness card from both, and ask which of­fice to meet you at. I know peo­ple who have saved their mar­riages this way. — D. On de­vout par­ents shocked to learn of a child’s athe­ism:

As a teenage athe­ist daugh­ter of Chris­tian par­ents, I would like to re­spond to par­ents:

Don’t panic. In all like­li­hood, your chil­dren will be well-ad­justed mem­bers of so­ci­ety, just like you. Be glad they feel safe enough to trust you to not over­re­act. By ha­rass­ing them about Chris­tian­ity, treat­ing them like re­bel­lious teenagers, or un­der­min­ing their abil­ity to make de­ci­sions, you will only dis­tance them from you.

In­stead, mom-up, and tell them you are OK with it. (Re­mem­ber that twothirds of the world is not Chris­tian.)

Do tell them you ex­pect them to be de­cent hu­man be­ings no mat­ter who they pray or don’t pray to. That is a uni­ver­sal value. — Hid­ing in Texas My hus­band grew up in a su­per-re­li­gious fam­ily, but even­tu­ally de­clared him­self a dis­be­liever.

For nearly two decades his mother and sis­ter tried to turn ev­ery con­ver­sa­tion to re­li­gion. The re­sult: He rarely ini­ti­ated com­mu­ni­ca­tion.He was re­ceiv­ing noth­ing pos­i­tive or up­lift­ing from com­mu­ni­ca­tion with them, only frus­tra­tion.

Even­tu­ally, his sis­ter re­al­ized back­ing off was the key to sav­ing their re­la­tion­ship. His mother also even­tu­ally backed down some. He calls now some­times, but out of duty, not de­sire. It’s very sad, and so eas­ily avoided by ac­cept­ing what you can’t change: some­one else. Tell Me About It is writ­ten by Carolyn Hax ofThe Washington Post. Her col­umn ap­pears on Tues­day, Thurs­day and Satur­day. Email her at tellme@wash­post.com.

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