The Progress-Index Weekend - - LIFESTYLES -

Daugh­ter’s bratty be­hav­ior drives her mother to tears

DEAR ABBY: I re­cently trav­eled to Ger­many to help my 19-year-old daugh­ter set­tle in for her se­mes­ter of study abroad. I was in tears the en­tire trip home, not be­cause I was sad to leave her, but be­cause she kept lash­ing out at me for any­thing from us­ing a cot­ton swab to fol­low­ing proper di­rec­tions ex­it­ing the train, to ask­ing sim­ple— but, in her mind, ridicu­lous — ques­tions. This is not new be­hav­ior. Her brother has also ob­served her over­re­ac­tive be­hav­ior to mi­nor things.

I treated her and her room­mate to din­ners out and stocked her apart­ment with gro­ceries, in ad­di­tion to mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions to­ward her tu­ition. I’m also split­ting the cost of her monthly rent with her dad.

I feel hurt, like she re­gards me as only an ATM. She wouldn’t even let me use her Euro­pean elec­tri­cal adapter to charge my phone be­fore leav­ing for the air­port.

Should I con­vey how hurt I feel and, if so, what are your sug­ges­tions? I feel if I have a phone con­ver­sa­tion, she will sigh, tell me she doesn’t have time for this or ac­cuse me of be­ing a killjoy. If I put it in a let­ter, I’ll feel like a cow­ard, but it will al­low me to ex­press my feel­ings with­out in­ter­rup­tion or protest. — UN­AP­PRE­CI­ATED IN VER­MONT


Frankly, I’m sur­prised you weren’t cry­ing be­cause you rec­og­nized your part in cre­at­ing the self-en­ti­tled mon­ster your daugh­ter has be­come. You should have put a stop to it when she first started “over­re­act­ing” with rude, in­sen­si­tive and un­grate­ful be­hav­ior.

By all means write her a let­ter, and when you do, tell her she be­haved shame­fully, it was hurt­ful, and that you will no longer tol­er­ate it. Be sure she un­der­stands she will not get an­other penny un­til you re­ceive an apol­ogy and as­sur­ances that you won’t be sub­jected to that kind of abuse again. Con­tinue prac­tic­ing tough love un­til you see real changes in your daugh­ter’s at­ti­tude. It’s the only kind of lan­guage she will un­der­stand.

DEAR ABBY: Af­ter 23 years to­gether, my wife, af­ter spend­ing time with her grown chil­dren, brought home pho­tos of her de­ceased for­mer hus­band. The pho­tos that bother me are the ones in which they are hold­ing hands. He was the step­fa­ther to her now-mid­dle-aged chil­dren. They had 19 years to­gether, and he had a daugh­ter who be­came my wife’s step­daugh­ter.

The step­daugh­ter posted on so­cial me­dia that she missed her dad. My wife ex­pressed the same feel­ings and said she thinks about him, too. When my wife posted those sen­ti­ments on the in­ter­net, ev­ery­one could read it. Those pic­tures and feel­ings bother me. Am I wrong for be­ing an­gry about this? —


DEAR UP­SET: It’s time to grow up and ac­cept that your wife was mar­ried — I pre­sume hap­pily — be­fore her for­mer hus­band’s death. If you want a healthy mar­riage, stop com­pet­ing with a dead man. For her to ex­press sol­i­dar­ity with her for­mer step­daugh­ter was no re­flec­tion on her love for or her mar­riage to you. Your feel­ings are not all that un­usual, but you are wrong to be an­gry. If you need re­as­sur­ance, ask your wife for it, and I’m sure she’ll give it to you. Be­cause she once loved an­other man doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you.


At sun­down tonight, Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, be­gins. At this time of solemn in­tro­spec­tion, I would like to wish you all “L’shana tova tikat­evu” — may you be in­scribed in the Book of Life and have a good year.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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