Ask Amy: Daughter’s hangover begs for response

July 18, 2012

DEAR AMY: On Father’s Day, my husband and I were scheduled to go out to breakfast with his 34-year-old daughter (my stepdaughter) and son-in-law.

We were on our way to the restaurant when my husband received a call from our son-in-law that his wife was ill so they were going to have to cancel.

Later that day my husband’s daughter called and told him she had been partying the day before and was too hung over to meet us.

They both drink a significant amount of alcohol (but hold down responsible jobs).

I was very upset and interpreted this event as a sign of disrespect toward my husband and secondly a red flag because of the reason that caused them to cancel. My husband says it is no big deal. I feel he should have said something, but he declined.

My feeling is that when drinking starts interfering with work or family functions it is a red flag that there is a problem. My husband says it is none of our business. What do you think? -- Still Steaming

DEAR STILL STEAMING: Someone else’s drinking becomes your business when you are left sitting in the parking lot of a restaurant for a special occasion that the other person is too hung over to attend.

Your husband may not feel secure enough in his relationship with his daughter to say anything to her about the effect her behavior has on him. This explains why she is rude and thoughtless enough to declare that she puts her partying ahead of celebrating Father’s Day.

You two are tiptoeing around this issue, but by using a hangover as an excuse, this couple is inviting (and practically begging) you to react. If your husband won’t speak up, maybe you should.

DEAR AMY: My brother is still living with my parents at age 22. That doesn’t really sound bad, but he is constantly on his computer playing online games. He only comes downstairs to use the bathroom or get food.

He is unhealthy and overweight. I’m scared and worried for him. His gaming is eating his life away. He doesn’t have a job because he is too lazy to get up and shower. He stays up all night and doesn’t wake up until the afternoon. Do you have any suggestions? -- Worried Sibling

DEAR WORRIED: The only way for your brother’s life to change would be for your parents to make a choice to stop giving him the tools to kill his health and spirit.

They have some control over his situation, but they obviously refuse to take responsibility for forcing him to make some changes. People move toward change when their life becomes too uncomfortable to maintain as it is.

Your brother needs to work. He could mow lawns, work on a house-painting or cleaning crew, or take classes to train for a profession. He can’t do this if he is gaming all night. And he won’t be up all night if your parents cut off the wireless on a schedule or find other ways to enforce some basic compliance.

As it is, they are enabling your brother to feed his addiction and ruin his health and relationships. If he has underlying mental health, learning or physical issues that impede his ability to function, your parents should help him deal with them.

I know it sounds as if I’m blaming your folks for your brother’s choices, but they raised the lump in the attic; now they must help him learn to function in the world.

DEAR AMY: “Worried” wrote to you about injuring herself on her boyfriend’s jagged glass table. The boyfriend could not afford to pay her medical costs, and her mother threatened to sue.

If you have a glass table top that has a jagged, broken edge that someone could cut themselves on, you cover it with something so it doesn’t pose a risk. A piece of duct tape would work.

I am a Canadian and happily so, as firstly, I would not have had to pay for my medical treatment, and secondly, we do not live in such a rampantly litigious society as the U.S. -- Cobi

DEAR COBI: Thank you for offering your perspective -- and the duct tape remedy!

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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