Hard-work­ing dad needs help re­lat­ing to his young daugh­ter

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - PROFILES - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069 or visit

DEAR ABBY: My hus­band works full time, and when he gets home, and also on week­ends, he’s “ex­hausted” and needs to re­lax. He’s in bed by 8 ev­ery night, and on the week­ends, if we don’t have some­thing planned, he lies in bed all day nap­ping and watch­ing TV.

How­ever, when he re­al­izes he has a week­end day free (mean­ing I’m tak­ing our 6-year-old daugh­ter some­place he doesn’t need to be), he all of a sud­den “finds” the en­ergy to make golf plans, go on out­ings with friends, etc. If I make plans to hire a baby sit­ter and it’s just us go­ing out, he has the en­ergy and looks for­ward to it. It’s as if he is hap­pi­est when he doesn’t have to be with our child.

He does give her some at­ten­tion, but it’s just in spurts, and then he’s off again to watch TV. I’m tired of ask­ing him to make plans with her or spend time with her. I feel like a nag for some­thing I feel he should want to do. Any ad­vice? — Like a sin­gle par­ent in

New Hamp­shire DEAR SIN­GLE PAR­ENT: You mar­ried a man who may have no clue how to be a par­ent and doesn’t know how to re­late to a lit­tle girl. Chil­dren aren’t stupid. They know when some­one en­joys them and when some­one doesn’t.

The ef­fect of his lack of in­ter­est will have an im­pact on how your daugh­ter feels about her­self when she’s older. She will ask her­self why her fa­ther acts the way he does and blame her­self for it. (Aren’t I smart enough? Aren’t I pretty enough?)

Con­sider go­ing with your hus­band to a psy­chol­o­gist who can pro­vide him with some in­sight — as well as sug­ges­tions — about how to bet­ter re­late to his daugh­ter, be­cause it isn’t too late to make some changes that could ben­e­fit both of them.

DEAR ABBY: I need some out­side ad­vice. I just found out that my mother has breast can­cer. That is hard enough, but I also found out that she has known for the last 18 months and de­cided to not take any mea­sures to fight it.

My sis­ters say we should re­spect her de­ci­sion and give her as much sup­port as we can, but I can’t help but want to push her to fight this. She said she doesn’t want the pain of surgery and pos­si­bly chemo­ther­apy. I need some­one to help me un­der­stand what to do. Please.

— Needs some help in

Texas DEAR NEEDS SOME HELP: I don’t know at what stage your mother’s can­cer was at the time of her di­ag­no­sis and whether she got a sec­ond opinion and coun­sel­ing. Af­ter 18 months of not be­ing treated, I also don’t know at what stage it may be now. It may have been too late then — or it may be too late now.

If she made her de­ci­sion un­der the as­sump­tion that there would be no pain if she skipped the surgery/ chemo, she was in­cor­rect. There is pain ei­ther way, al­though with heavy med­i­ca­tion it may be con­trolled.

I do think you should sup­port her de­ci­sion and make the best of the time you have to­gether. Your sis­ters are right — she will need your sup­port as her dis­ease pro­gresses. My heart goes out to all of you. Please ac­cept my sym­pa­thy.

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