DEAR ABBY: Whatever happened to respecting one’s elders and recognizing grandparents as head of the family? I recently returned from visiting my son, his wife and my new grandchild. My son’s wife and I had many disagreements on how to care for my grandchild. Instead of respecting my years of experience as a mother and appreciating my help, she chose to ignore my instructions and advice.
After I returned home, I was told by my son that I was no longer welcome to visit my grandchild unless I apologized to his wife for trying to undermine her parenting. I told him she should apologize to ME for not showing me respect as the grandmother.
How can I make my son see that it is his wife who is wrong, and not me? — UNAPPRECIATED GRANDMA
DEAR UNAPPRECIATED: It would be interesting to know how closely you adhered to your parents’ and in-laws’ parenting advice, because when your children came along I’ll bet you had your own ideas on the subject.
Showing respect and following your orders are not the same thing. It is a mother’s right to care for her baby as she sees fit, and you should show HER the respect she deserves by allowing her to do that and not turning it into a power struggle. Unless you do, you will be seeing very little of any of them.
DEAR ABBY: I’m 26 and still live with my mother, helping her with bills and rent. A couple of months ago I got an opportunity to move out, but the fear of leaving my mother alone with her medical conditions stopped me.
Now that I have another chance to move out and live alone, I don’t know how to tell her, or even if I should go. When both of my sisters moved out, Mom got really depressed. My fear is she will find herself alone and try to harm herself. What should I do? — YOUNG ADULT IN FLORIDA
DEAR YOUNG ADULT: The mark of a successful parent is having raised her children to be self-sufficient. Because you are afraid your mother might become so depressed she might harm herself if you move, you should discuss this with her physician and explore what social services in your community can do to help her adjust. Many hospitals have social workers on staff, and that would be a place to start asking what is available.
DEAR ABBY: When we visit my parents’ graves, we always leave flowers. Invariably there are flowers also at my father’s — not put there by my wife and me. Because Dad has been gone since 1963, we can’t figure out who could be putting flowers on his grave only. My sister thinks he had a secret girlfriend. I don’t think so. What’s your opinion of this? — STUMPED IN SACRAMENTO
DEAR STUMPED: Your dad is dead and gone. I assume he was good to your mother, and there wasn’t a breath of scandal. Why look for trouble where none exists? Suggest to your sister that she should focus on the positive, and be glad someone cared enough about him to continue to honor his memory.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.