Ask Ann Cannon: My college-age daughter is a mess

Ann Cannon

Dear Ann Cannon • I love my college-age daughter, but she is driving me crazy this summer. It was fun to have her back for the first week, but now her messiness is really getting to me. What to do?

Slowly Going Mad

Dear Slowly Going Mad • Hahahahaha! We’re experiencing the exact same thing over here at chez Cannon, but I’m the one driving our son crazy.

What can you do? Your daughter can’t read your mind (unless she’s a professional mind-reader). Let her know that her messiness is a problem for you, then ask for her input to help solve the problem. That will encourage her to own the situation. Don’t wait until you’re so fed up with her that you explode like a bottle rocket. No one likes to be yelled at.

Dear Ann Cannon • My daughter identifies as queer/asexual, though she is in a long-term sexual relationship with a man who is not monogamous. While I worry that this isn’t the healthiest relationship for her, I also recognize it is the only relationship she has ever known. I’d prefer she was in a monogamous relationship, but she seems to feel loved, and I have personally chosen to respect her choices. She doesn’t talk about her sexuality to her three younger sisters who are teenagers at home.

My husband’s parents recently asked him if our daughter was gay. In order to avoid a complicated discussion about her sexuality and status, he simply said “yes.” His parents were very supportive. Do you think this was a fair answer, keeping in mind that we’re trying to explain her sexual choices to 80-year-olds for whom a gay relationship is already a big leap? Or are we glossing over a complicated experience and doing our daughter a disservice? Ultimately, we feel this her story (not ours) to tell.

Wants to Do the Right Thing

Dear Wants to Do the Right Thing • First, an observation: Your daughter is truly fortunate to have grandparents who are willing to accept her with such loving grace, even if the information they have is incomplete. My advice? Leave it be. Your instinct to let your daughter tell her own story when — and if — she chooses is a good call.

Dear Ann Cannon • Summer vacation is upon us and I’ve finally learned what keeps me ensconced in my house every summer, forcing my children to watch more TV than is healthy: hot, shadeless parks. So far the weather has been kind to me, but I know what’s coming. I cower from the harsh sunshine; I wither in the heat. It doesn’t help that there are now twice as many brutally hot days in summer than there were when I was a child. If compelled outside, I have to spend a full day inside afterward, lolling in front of the air conditioner vents, forbidding my children from going within 10 feet of the door. Do you have any recommendations for this shade-loving soul who wants (for once!) to set a good example for the children and actually get outside? Thanks.

Happier in Autumn

Dear Happier in Autumn • You sound like my husband. Which isn’t the point. The point is you want some suggestions, so here are a couple of ideas. Other suggestions are welcome.

  1. Summer nights in Salt Lake are the best. Take your kids to a Bees game and let them enjoy the activities at Smith’s Ballpark.

  2. Get out of the heat by heading up the canyons where it’s typically cooler. I used to take our kids on hikes to Donut Falls and Cecret Lake. They whined a lot, but whatever.

  3. Also, Liberty Park has actual trees! And a splash pad! Pack a picnic and go with some friends.

I hope this helps.

Dear Ann Cannon • If I write to you for advice, does that mean I need therapy?

Wants to Know

Dear Wants to Know • Possibly. But then, who doesn’t?

Ann Cannon is The Tribune’s advice columnist. Got a question for Ann? Email her at askann@sltrib.com or visit the Ask Ann Cannon page on Facebook.