DEAR ABBY: I have a grandson who is 13. He insists on wearing a hoodie, leather jacket and long jeans no matter what the weather. It is 80 degrees outside today and he’s wearing them to a picnic. I have given up arguing with him on this. What gives? — MYSTIFIED GRANDMA IN WASHINGTON
DEAR MYSTIFIED: Arguing with your grandson is a waste of your time and energy. He’s more concerned about the image he wants to project than he is about his comfort. Some lessons have to be learned from experience, and this may be one of them.
DEAR ABBY: I have a 21-year-old son, “Jeremy,” who doesn’t like me much unless he needs something. I suspect it may have something to do with my tough parenting during his rebellious high school years.
He lives in another state with his girlfriend and their child, who will be a year old. Jeremy cuts off communication with me over the simplest disagreement. When I try to contact him, he won’t respond, and it can go on for months. It hurts me, so I back away because I don’t know when it might happen again.
Do you have any advice on how I can handle this and be part of Jeremy’s and my grandchild’s lives? — RETREATING FROM THE PAIN & STRESS
DEAR RETREATING: Healthy people back away from painful situations, so it’s no wonder you’re “retreating.” What’s happening is you are on the receiving end of a dose of passive-aggressive behavior from your angry son. Jeremy’s manipulation is hostile and deliberate.
Family therapy might help, if Jeremy and his girlfriend are willing. But as it stands, it appears the only way you will be a part of his (and your grandson’s) life may be to buy your way in. However, do not mistake it for respect or affection, or you will only position yourself for more heartache.
DEAR ABBY: What are your thoughts on calling friends or family while they’re on vacation?
Last week, my husband and I had a much-needed getaway. While there, I was called several times by a friend who knew I was on vacation. After I ignored several calls, I got a frantic text from her requesting I call back immediately because she was concerned because I wasn’t answering. I texted back that I was fine, but on a noisy beach and unable to talk.
When I spoke with her after I returned home, it turned out she had wanted to chat about her boyfriend problems. I let her know that my vacation time is so limited each year that I usually don’t check my phone.
I personally think making a non-emergency call to someone on vacation is rude and annoying. Am I right on this? — DO NOT DISTURB IN WEST VIRGINIA
DEAR D.N.D.: I think so. That’s why vacations are referred to as “getting away from it all.”
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.