Dear Ann Cannon • My teenage daughters seem to reject my advice much more than my husband’s. Is that a general thing or just a “me” thing? Is there something about teenagerhood that makes them reject their same-gender parent’s advice more than their different-gender parent?
Dear Baffled • I can only answer this question based on my own experiences and observations. But yeah. Sometimes it feels like friction between parents and teenagers of the same sex is more pronounced. I’m not sure why this would be — perhaps it has something to do with a teenager’s natural (and necessary!) desire to establish an identity separate from the “same gender” parent. I’m pretty sure my mom would say I was a lot more difficult to live with than my brothers were.
My advice? Hang in there and try not to take things personally.
Dear Ann Cannon • When I was on my mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints overseas, a couple with past addiction issues joined the church. I became good friends with them both and was happy to see their lives improve in all kinds of ways. Fast forward — after leaving my mission, I started hearing from the woman, who told me that she’d left her husband and moved away to another town because he’d become abusive. She also started asking me for money. I’ve sent her money a few times to help her out, but then I never hear from her until she texts to ask for more. At this point I’m pretty sure she’s using again, so I’ve made the decision to stop sending money — especially since I don’t know anybody in the town where she lives who can check up on her. Do you think this was the right decision? If so, why do I still feel so guilty about it?
— Former Missionary
Dear Former Missionary • Why do you feel guilty? Because a) you care about this friend and b) you want to do the right thing. That’s why you feel bad about your decision to stop sending her money. You may also feel guilty at some level because you live so far away and can’t see what’s going on for yourself. The distance makes it impossible for you to really be there for her.
However, in my opinion, you’ve absolutely made the right decision to stop enabling her behavior, which is both destructive and manipulative. One of the truly terrible things about the disease otherwise known as addiction is that it can lead a person (like your friend) to take advantage of the people who care about her. And that’s not good for anybody.
Meanwhile, your feelings of guilt won’t disappear overnight — and they may never fully subside. But sometimes life makes us sit for a while with complicated emotions. I do wish you (and your friend, too) the best.
Dear Tribune Readers • A number of you reached out with similar advice for the daughter dealing with an elderly father. Here is a sample of that feedback.
I would also suggest that she look into in-home care services and hire paid help to come in for a few hours once or twice a week to do the things the neighbor has been doing, thank him kindly for all he has done thus far, and change the locks. The cost would be worth the peace of mind.
And this ...
I just read your very helpful reply to the daughter of the man who has allowed his neighbor to cross important boundaries. I found it extremely helpful, except I had hoped by the end of that letter you might have also recommended that she change the locks and get new keys for the house. I think that would be a huge step as well.