Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My 19-year-old daughter has always argued with me about everything. I could say the sky is blue, and she would say, “No, it’s azure.” When she was a child, I tried to ignore her debates and told her to just do as I say. But now that she’s a young adult, it no longer works. I don’t know how to put an end to these constant ridiculous arguments.
I just got off the phone with her. I asked if she could stop and get some cookie dough at the grocery store on her way home. She could not see any reason why I would want any, and I spent way too much time and effort convincing her to please get some so I could make some cookies. The store wasn’t out of her way, and it wasn’t expensive. She simply saw no reason for me to bake cookies.
She rarely does this with her father, although he has occasionally gotten the same treatment. I do not understand why she feels the need to make our lives so much more unpleasant than necessary. She will be finishing her education at a university halfway across the country next year, and it would be nice to put an end to this nonsense before she leaves. Please help. — Just for Argument’s Sake
Dear Just: You and your daughter have created a confrontational pattern that neither of you seems able to break. Here’s how: Stop arguing with her. When she says the sky is “azure,” tell her, “OK.” If she says you don’t need to bake cookies, reply thoughtfully, “You could be right.” These are not major issues, and it won’t matter if you let her win. Arguing is how your daughter gets your undivided attention. When she sees that she cannot provoke you, she may look for different ways to communicate. Help her out.
Dear Annie: I am 75 and have four married children. My first wife died, and I’ve been married to my second wife for eight years. It causes her great pain that one of my children displays a picture of me with my first wife in a prominent place in the living room. There is no picture of me with my current wife. She thinks it is an intentional way to say she is not welcome, and she refuses to visit there again.
My wife has made a point of displaying pictures in our home of both sides of the family to avoid just this type of ill will when my children visit. I understand people have the right to hang any pictures that please them, but I would like my wife to feel like part of the family in their home. Should I request that the offending picture be removed during our visits? — Upset Father
Dear Father: Your wife is being oversensitive. It is perfectly proper for a child to have a picture of his or her parents on display in the home. We suggest you explain the situation privately and give them a framed photograph of you with your current wife, asking if they would please hang it where your wife can see it when she visits. Tell them it would be a kindness to you and a gesture of acceptance for her.
Dear Annie: “Louisville Lass” preferred that the grandparents donate to their children’s college funds instead of showering them with gifts on holidays and birthdays. That is exactly what my in-laws did for my two sons. They would give them a copy of a deposit slip to a savings account in their names.
The small amounts of $10 or $25 didn’t mean much to the boys at the time, but when they graduated from high school, the amounts had added up to $5,000 apiece. The smile that brought to their faces, and to ours as well, was far greater than all the “landfill” gifts they would have received over the years. It also teaches a valuable lesson on how saving small amounts can be very rewarding. — A Happy Parent
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.9.10