Friend worries about her friends’ troubled kids
Dear Amy: How should I respond to parents of troubled offspring? These not-so-young adults seem set on destroying themselves or going to jail. Some have committed unspeakable acts and endangered others.
These parents and their sons and daughters have been my friends for many years. I saw nothing but love in their homes. I am not a parent, so I don’t trust my feelings here.
In some cases, I am so furious with the offenders that I don’t think I can be in a room with them without going into a rage. They don’t seem to realize how much their actions impact the lives of the people around them.
I’m afraid to ask, and yet I feel it seems like I don’t care if I don’t ask. I’m reluctant to make a connection for fear they think I’m being snoopy. I just want to hang out with my old buddies!
Can you guide me?
Dear Miss My Friends: The way you present this, you are surrounded — or feel surrounded — by friends and their felonious offspring. I truly hope this is not the case.
Your question is whether you should ask your friends about their adult children, in the polite way that people do. The answer is “yes.”
It doesn’t seem like snooping if you simply ask, “How is ‘Marta’ doing right now?” The friend can either answer in detail, or give you a noncommittal brush back. If you sense tension, you can say, “Are you OK with me asking? I don’t want to upset you, but I want you to know that I care.”
There is no need for you to spend time with offenders, if it makes you uncomfortable or fills you with rage. But when communicating with these parents, leave your harsh judgment behind. Regardless of how you may feel, you should assume that they continue to love and care about their children.
Dear Amy: I’m disappointed that you told “Nanny in Need” not to take a dog that had come to the family she worked for. Now the poor dog is being neglected by everyone!
Dear Upset: The nanny had taken on the dog’s care during work hours. She should not succumb to pressure to take on the dog full time. That’s not a solution for either of them.