Ask Amy: Daughter’s choices bring on family gossip

September 8, 2012

DEAR AMY: I have a 26-year-old daughter who is incapable of making life decisions.

She was raised as an only child (she has an older half-sister) and her father and I spoiled her. I admit there was not enough discipline. She has been wild since age 14. She had two broken engagements before her first marriage.

In March, her husband caught her cheating on him and within a week they got a quickie divorce and she moved down South with the new guy (he also got a divorce).

She soon learned she was pregnant. She and the new guy got married. She claims it is his child, but I don’t think she knows for sure. She lies so much, I don’t believe half of what she tells me.

They came home last weekend and we had a baby shower. There weren’t many family members there because everyone in the family is upset at the way she treated her ex-husband. I agree with them.

Our daughter now wants to move back to our state. I wish they would stay where they are for a while and let the gossip slow down. She acts like everything is normal and has no remorse. I love her very much but am so ashamed of her I don’t know what to do. -- Created a Monster

DEAR CREATED: Your daughter is making decisions. They happen to be terrible ones, but she’s making them. Now that she is an adult she will have to learn to face the natural consequences of your parenting and her current choices.

If she habitually lies to you, you should stop asking questions for which she will supply a fabrication. Use the current distance between you to figure out how to detach from her choices — and your own judgment. Your message to her should be, “We certainly hope everything works out for you.”

You cannot speak for other family members, supply answers to their gossip, or really affect your daughter’s choices. You must make a determination not to enable her. With a baby in the picture, this will be challenging. You can hope that she does a better job with her child than you did with her.

DEAR AMY: My 30-year-old son sneezes so loudly it scares children and pets.

I have suggested several times that he should try and muffle the sound, to no avail. He works in a large room with a bunch of cubicles, and I imagine everyone there can hear it.

He gets angry when I bring it up and basically told me to butt out. He says this is a natural body function so why should he worry about it? I made a point that passing gas was also a natural function. What is your opinion? -- John in Denver

DEAR JOHN: Your son sounds rude, disrespectful and boorish, but he is right about this: His sneeze is his own business.

If you want to spend time with him, you will have to learn to tolerate him unmuffled. The impact on his co-workers is not something you should worry about. I assure you, they will be writing to me soon enough, complaining about the explosive sneezer in their cubicle farm.

Mix it up and throw him off by treating this with a bit of humor. The next time he explodes, shout out: “Bless you!”

DEAR AMY: My oldest sister is throwing herself a 70th birthday party. She has never given me a gift of any type, nor has she ever given a gift to my daughter or granddaughter.

My sister has three children, and I never forgot to honor their birthdays with a gift until they were 21. My mother and brother do not think it is right to walk into my sister’s party without a gift. I have no problem doing so. What do you think? -- Ungifted in California

DEAR UNGIFTED: I think you are all correct.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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