Ask Amy

Dear Amy: My friend and I both have 30year-old daugh­ters. Each of our daugh­ters has strug­gled over the years, dur­ing which we have laughed, cried, com­mis­er­ated and

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Amy Dick­in­son

sup­ported one another.

My friend’s daugh­ter now has a suc­cess­ful ca­reer, is mar­ried, bought a house and just had her first baby. I gave fab­u­lous wed­ding and baby show­ers at my home, and I am happy for her many suc­cesses.

My daugh­ter con­tin­ues to strug­gle but is do­ing well in her cho­sen ca­reer, is un­mar­ried and un­at­tached, lives at home and just de­vel­oped a se­ri­ous med­i­cal con­di­tion that makes it un­likely she will have chil­dren.

As I have only one child, this changes my daugh­ter’s fu­ture and mine.

I am not un­happy and choose not to dwell on lost pos­si­bil­i­ties. Life is un­ex­pected and there are many ways to in­clude chil­dren in your life, but nei­ther my daugh­ter nor I are ready for that just now.

My friend re­cently told me she is hurt be­cause I don’t ask for fre­quent up­dates on her grand­child. Quite hon­estly, I am happy for her, but the anec­dotes and up­dates from a de­lighted grand­par­ent re­mind me of what we may never have (but thought and hoped we would).

I asked my friend if she could share news with other grand­par­ents, but she feels I am not be­ing a good friend and should keep grand­child up­dates as a reg­u­lar part of our con­ver­sa­tions. Do I have to? — Old Friend Dear Old Friend: You don’t “have to” do any­thing you don’t want to do, but the kind­est thing is for you to ac­knowl­edge and tol­er­ate your friend’s life-news, just as she should kindly ac­knowl­edge and tol­er­ate yours.

Ideally, you would be able to con­vey to your friend that you find this joy­ful ac­count­ing painful at times. She should never in­sist that you have to ask about this grand­child, but you should also not in­sist that she must keep this im­por­tant part of her life com­pletely pri­vate.

Dear Amy: My daugh­ter and son-in-law have 12-yearold twins. I wit­ness hor­ri­ble be­hav­ior such as tantrums, yelling, dis­re­spect­ful talk to their par­ents and some­times hurt­ing each other.

They are gen­er­ally well-be­haved when they are with me and with­out their par­ents, but they still have to be told to say “Thank you,” “Ex­cuse me” and “Please.”

They in­ter­rupt adult con­ver­sa­tions, spend much of their time on their phones or the com­puter and will ig­nore their par­ents’ re­quests.

I do no­tice that threats re­gard­ing bad be­hav­ior are never car­ried through; there are no con­se­quences.

I love them very much and am sad to see this hap­pen­ing. I think their par­ents are won­der­ful peo­ple but are strug­gling with par­ent­hood.

I would never be able to con­front them about my feel­ings, but I dread fam­ily get-to­geth­ers. I would love to oc­ca­sion­ally have each of the twins separately on a one-on-one ba­sis. They are at an age where it might be wise to talk to them in­di­vid­u­ally about how I feel about their be­hav­ior. But do you think I should I con­tinue to be silent and not in­ter­fere? — Sad Grandma

Dear Sad: I agree that it would be wis­est at this point to spend one-on-one time with each twin. This will en­able you to see them as in­di­vid­u­als, and will give them fewer rea­sons to act out through re­act­ing to each other, fight­ing and/ or dou­ble-team­ing you.

You should al­ways ex­pect their very best be­hav­ior, prompt them to­ward po­lite­ness and de­liver rea­son­able con­se­quences while in your house­hold. Mainly I think you should of­fer them the peace­ful, firm, lov­ing and gen­tle at­mos­phere that they seem to be miss­ing at home. Be hon­est with them about what you see in terms of their be­hav­ior. Tell them you know they can do bet­ter, and help to guide them to meet their true po­ten­tial.

Don’t give up on these kids.

Dear Amy: “Deeply Dis­ap­pointed” de­scribed a very tough sit­u­a­tion with his 23year-old step­son, who had al­ready been jailed for DWI. No­body men­tioned if this young man was en­rolled in a 12-step pro­gram to deal with his drink­ing. I feel this is nec­es­sary for his re­cov­ery. — Wor­ried

Dear Wor­ried: I agree. So­bri­ety is a daily tri­umph. 12step pro­grams can help.

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