Dear Amy: I am the mother of three adult children and grandmother to six.

On Christmas Eve, my son’s 4-year-old was bitten by my daughter’s dog, while my son-in-law had the dog on a leash. The child was upset, but his parents handled the situation calmly. He now has a scar on his hand from the bite.

The next occasion that we were to be at this daughter’s home was over Easter.

My son’s family has a dog of their own (a very obedient animal), and didn’t want to traumatize their little boy any more than he already was. He asked his sister to please crate the dog when his children (ages 4 and 2) were to be in the home.

She answered that the dog would be on a leash while inside. My son said that he and his wife wouldn’t be comfortable with that, and said he wouldn’t attend the family dinner. They celebrated elsewhere. My son and his wife have hurt feelings, as do I.

I sent my daughter an e-mail asking her to apologize to her brother and sister-in-law for not respecting their request, which I don’t think was unreasonable. This issue is now causing a problem in our family. Your input?


Amy says: Your children are adults. Your son attempted to negotiate with his sister, she turned him down and he delivered an appropriate consequence.

I think you made a mistake by inserting yourself and insisting that one apologize to the other, because now you have upped the ante. It might be wiser to be less directive toward your daughter: “I’m disappointed in how you’ve handled this, and I hope you’ll work things out, because this is having an impact on the rest of the family.”

You shouldn’t worry too much about this, nor should you take responsibility or ownership for a problem you cannot solve.

What’s the cost of friendship

Dear Amy: A good friend of mine owes me a small amount of money ($25). I have reminded this person twice, and still have not been repaid. What should I do? I think I will find it hard to let it go. I am afraid it will affect the friendship.


Amy says: This loan is affecting the friendship, because your friend hasn’t bothered to repay you, and you can’t drop it. This small matter has unfortunately revealed something new about this friend. Many wonderful people are terrible bets when it comes to money, but they have other qualities that make them worth staying close to. Is this friendship worth $25?

You might feel better if you can proactively forgive this person for revealing their failing to you. Once you finally forgive, you may find the money magically appears — either that or it simply won’t matter anymore. It’s the universe’s way of rewarding forgiveness.

Don’t lend again, however. That would just be buying trouble.


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