Dear Ann Cannon • Imagine my shock and sorrow to open my Instagram on Saturday morning and learn my brother-in-law had passed. My sister-in-law called several hours later to tell my family. This man has been a part of my life for over 60 years, and I am so disappointed that my niece could not wait for the family to be notified before doing a post to the world. I feel some things should be delivered personally. Is this how we should expect to get our family updates???
— Sad Sister-in-Law and Aunt
Dear Sad Sister-in-Law and Aunt • First, please let me express my sympathy. I’m so very sorry for your family’s loss. A death in the family is never easy, but during this pandemic season, it’s especially challenging.
Because social media is so pervasive in today’s culture and provides users with a sense of immediate gratification, it’s tempting for people to post without thinking first. This could be what drove your niece to share her information before you and the rest of the family were notified. Still, I agree with you. Some news should definitely, definitely be delivered personally first. Period. End of story.
Again, I’m sorry for your loss.
Dear Ann Cannon • What do I do about the adult child who never responds to any of my texts?
— Frustrated Mama
Dear Frustrated Mama • Sometimes it seems like people hardly ever have voice-to-voice exchanges these days, let alone face-to-face conversations. Texting — for many people at least — has become the default way they communicate. Which is why it’s hard when someone. Just. Doesn’t. Respond. Rest assured that you’re not the only parent who’s having this experience.
So, what can you do with the adult child who ignores your texts? I suppose you could threaten to disown him or her, but yeah. Like that would work. Or, instead, you could settle on the following option: Text (or even call!) and ask your adult child straight up why he or she doesn’t respond. Follow through by letting him or her know you’d like some sort of acknowledgement of your text. I’m not promising that things will change. But it’s worth a try.
Meanwhile, I heard from a number of readers about the puppy who barks at night. Many of them made an important suggestion that I overlooked — putting the puppy on a leash when taking it out at night. These two letters are representative.
Regarding your advice to the owner of the barking puppy, I’d like to suggest a third option: Throw on your slippers, put the dog on a leash and walk it! Yes, it’s inconvenient, and it will thoroughly wake you up. But, it beats waking up your sleep-deprived neighbor … again. Puppies are a responsibility and a lot of work. I’ve had to get up in the middle of the night to walk my dog. It comes with the territory. Do the work!
What I would suggest you add to the advice you gave Puppy Mom is that she leash her puppy and go out with him during the night to prevent him from barking and disturbing the neighbors. The puppy should be less likely to bark with her right there. She should also enroll in a puppy training class (if any are being offered right now) to learn how to minimize his tendency to bark in an effective and humane manner. If he’s barking that much now as puppy and she doesn’t learn techniques to curb it, it will continue to be problematic.