DEAR ABBY: After 10 years of marriage, my now ex-husband told me he is transgender. He isn’t taking hormones, but he makes no attempt to hide his feminine dressing, makeup and wigs from our 6- and 9-year-old sons. They understand little of their dad’s new life, other than that their dad likes “girl stuff.” They often tell me they are embarrassed being with their dad in public when he has his nails painted or is wearing female clothing.
I have tried talking to my ex about this, but he becomes resentful when I bring it up. He feels he can do whatever he wants regardless of how he embarrasses our sons. Do you think I could take him to court to have an order put in place that he not dress like that when he has our children? — NEEDS TO KNOW IN NEW YORK
DEAR NEEDS TO KNOW: You could discuss it with your divorce lawyer, but I don’t think it would work. It would be much better if you asked your ex to explain to his boys the reason he’s dressing in female attire so they can understand it. Your husband is not going to change, so they are going to have to interact with him until they are quite a bit older.
DEAR ABBY: Our nephew, whom we raised, has offered my husband and me a lovely home to live in during our “senior years.” We are both in our 70s, live on Social Security, and I am physically unable to do much of anything, so our nephew has also offered us a weekly gardener and a house cleaner twice a month.
Abby, how are we ever going to be able to repay his generosity? My children are not in a position to offer us much help, but they plan to be around and help with additions to the house, painting and things like that. How can I repay them for the labor they’re going to expend? I’m so grateful to all of them and feel helpless to let them know how I feel. — SO GRATEFUL IN ROMNEY, W.VA.
DEAR SO GRATEFUL: You have obviously been a wonderful parent to your children and the nephew you raised like a son. Now it’s time for them to repay YOU, so please relax and accept it. Because you want to give them something, consider assembling family albums for each of them or a cookbook containing some of your special recipes. I am sure that receiving such treasures along with your thanks and your love will be compensation enough.
DEAR ABBY: I have an 11-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with severe ADHD and anxiety at the age of 7. She is receiving treatment for her condition.
My problem is, I don’t know how to cope with her and her condition. I get impatient and frustrated when I have to continually repeat myself because she’s not doing what she has to do. I’m afraid I may have hurt her by lashing out at her in anger, and I catch myself yelling and screaming more than hugging and praising. I need to find help and resources to educate me and provide support for this very real condition. — IN ADHD TURMOIL
DEAR IN TURMOIL: A place to start would be to discuss your concerns with the doctor or therapist who has been treating your daughter. Your feelings are not unusual, and he or she may be able to direct you to a parent support group in your area.
If that’s not possible, go online and search “support groups for parents of children with ADHD.” You will find many pages of resources — so many that it’s not possible to list all of them here.
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.