Ask Amy: Touchy daughter has grandparents on edge
- Article by: AMY DICKINSON
- December 2, 2013 - 3:03 PM
Dear Amy: Our daughter and her husband are expecting their first baby in four months. We have had a rocky relationship with her since she was an adolescent, but there have been good times, too.
She can be selfish and stubborn and is a “right-fighter.” Her dad and I have tried to go along to get along. She doesn’t compromise on much, and if she doesn’t get her way she gets angry and holds a grudge.
We fear she will try to prevent us from seeing the baby very often (or at all) if she is upset with us for any reason. Her husband is a calm and patient young man, so I hope he’ll try to talk her into being fair and sensible with us.
We want to be a part of this baby’s life. We hope our daughter won’t use the child as ammunition against us. How should we handle this?
My husband thinks we should sit down with the couple and tell them how we feel and that we want to have a special relationship with their child. How should we do this and what do we say?
Amy says: Your daughter has always been a volatile, right-fighting power-player. And yet, you seem to think that if you simply tell her that she can’t use her baby as bait, she will suddenly become more reasonable, rational and loving toward you? This is a tall order. And very unrealistic.
I think the last thing you should do is hand your daughter ammunition to manipulate and punish you. Instead, you should work harder to accept her limitations as a person (and likely as a parent). You should convey your excitement about the baby and maintain a neutral attitude about what you want out of the grandparent relationship.
You need to detach from her volatility. Do not allow her to use your grandparental attachment against you. Understand that your unique burden is that you may not get what you want, either from her or from the child. And you should do your best to love them both.
Dear Amy: My fiancé and I are animal lovers. I brought two old small mutts with special needs (blind and deaf) into our relationship. He brought a larger dog with severe anxiety issues and incontinence. The dog spends most of her life in bed. I put her in diapers.
He insists on having her sleep in our beds and bedding often gets wet (even with the diapers).
I am now washing bedding several times a week. You can imagine the smell. He refuses to seek a consultation for training or surgery because of the expense and risks that come with surgery.
My fiancé is extremely careful to keep our expensive cars spotless, yet this potty/anxiety issue doesn’t bother him. I feel it’s selfish to have expensive cars but not want to consider surgery for a nice dog, who is suffering and might live for a long time. My resentment is growing, and he knows how I feel. What can I do now?
Amy says: Your fiancé is not an animal lover. His dog (and you) have poor quality of life. Withholding medical care to an animal that needs it is cruel. Because you are also in this household, this is also your responsibility. You could both be charged with animal neglect.
My advice is that you should not cohabit with this man, not sleep in his filthy, urine-soaked bed, and not do his dog’s laundry. This is cuckoo.
Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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