Friend wor­ries about her friends’ trou­bled kids

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE -

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.

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