New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Family’s child care comes at a cost

- Jeanne Phillips Write to Dear Abby at P.O. Box 96440, Los Angeles, CA 90069 or

Dear Abby: I am a mother of four young children. It is exhausting. My husband helps as much as he can, but sometimes we both need a break. My parents offer to watch the kids. The problem is, my parents and I have opposite political and world views. Sometimes they’ll say things to my children like, “You’re such a ditzy girl, you better find a good husband!” Or call a former president “the devil.” My husband and I have different opinions than they do, and we worry about their influence on our children. But sometimes we need their help. I don’t think they can keep their opinions to themselves, but I don’t want them anywhere near my kids, either. Is it hypocritic­al to accept their help?

Different Views in New Jersey

Dear Different: Because you need their help and they are willing to babysit “the grands,” I don’t consider accepting it the least bit hypocritic­al. Your children are too young to know any former presidents, and are not likely to place any importance on what your parents say about them. I do, however, take issue with planting the idea in a little girl’s head that she is a “ditz” and that her only goal in life should be to marry anyone. Your daughter is growing up in a very different world than the one your mother was raised in. These days, girls are expected to follow their own path.

You and your husband should tell your children (in an age-appropriat­e way) that their grandparen­ts love them, but have different ideas about things than Mommy and Daddy do. Then reinforce that they are smart, honest, good and any other virtues you would like to implant in their little heads.

Dear Abby: I am married to a man from an affluent family. I love my in-laws and enjoy hosting dinners for them. My gay brother-in-law, “Karl” — who is my favorite person in the group — is seeing a guy, “Warren,” who is 30 years younger. Their relationsh­ip is on and off. Warren usually shows up when it’s convenient or when he wants money.

My problem is, when I invite the family, Karl always asks if he can bring his boyfriend. Each time Warren shows up, I become anxious because he has no social graces. At all. He cuts people off at the buffet line, picks through pieces of meat on the serving platter looking for the “best” cut and acts like he hasn’t eaten for days. I want to continue inviting Karl, so should I be honest and say, “Please do not bring your boyfriend,” or stop hosting family dinners?

Anxious in California

Dear Anxious: If you invite Karl and tell him not to bring Warren, the chances are he will refuse your future invitation­s. What you might do, however, is mention to him that his boyfriend’s social graces could use some “polishing,” and note what he does at the buffet.

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