Posted: Friday, November 28, 2008 8:51 pm
Dear Annie: I recently found out that my 14-year-old grandson has been taking money from my billfold. I called his mother about it. She confronted him and he admitted it. However, so far I haven’t received an apology from him.
My daughter is a single mom and works nights. I go to her house and spend time with the children while she works. (This grandson is the youngest.) I think my daughter should work days so she knows what is going on in her home at night. What’s your opinion? — A Few Dollars Out
Dear Few Dollars: Please don’t criticize your daughter’s hours. We assume she works nights because that’s the best she can do financially. Teenagers steal for many reasons. The boy could need more attention from Mom, or he may be trying to compete with or impress his friends, or something worse. However, your daughter should not ignore this. Your grandson should apologize to you and repay the money, either with his allowance or by doing chores. Your daughter also can call her son’s school and speak to the guidance counselor if there is one.
Dear Annie: I’ve been working as a receptionist at a retirement home for four years. Everything about this job is terrific. It’s close to home, my boss treats me wonderfully and the pay is good.
I just have one problem. There is an elderly woman who is a resident at the home and works the reception desk right before I arrive. “Rosalie” is constantly pointing things out that she considers improper. She lingers around my desk trying to find fault with everything I do. She criticizes my handwriting, the way I interact with residents and says I am “snooty” with my nose in the air.
This comes as a surprise to me because I greet everyone with a smile as they come in and know most of the residents by their first names. I’ve never had a problem with anyone except Rosalie. Should I say something about this? How do I deal with her? — Arizona Receptionist
Dear Arizona: With humor and forbearance. Rosalie thinks criticizing you will make her superior, and she needs reassurance that she still matters. Give her your biggest smile, be super-friendly, tell her how smart she is and how much you appreciate her pointers, and then ignore her. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with how insecure Rosalie is. She needs to feel important. Let her.
Dear Annie: You hit the nail on the head with your response to “Cinderella’s Stepmother.” We, too, have had to deal with my in-law’s extreme favoritism for my husband’s son from his first marriage.
When my husband and I had our first child together, my in-laws sent us a basket with a box of condoms — the clear message being that we were not to bring any more children into the family to compete with “The Precious.” They told us they only wanted to see my stepson and not the rest of our family on weekends. My father-in-law made sure The Precious was the only grandchild to benefit when the great-grandmother died. And when my mother-in-law passed away, he doled out thousands more to the boy, indulging his extravagant whims while barely acknowledging the other grandchildren. As our kids got older, they resented the blatant favoritism.
It’s important not to make excuses to children for their relatives’ bad behavior. They will know the truth anyway, and it’s best to deal with it honestly. I used to tell the children, “Life is often unfair. Let’s not dwell on it.”
My children are now in their teens. They are very close to my mother, who loves them all deeply and equally. They have little love or respect for my father-in-law, who thought he needed to compensate The Precious with the lion’s share of everything. Honestly, it’s his loss. — Rising Above in the Mile-High City
Dear Rising Above: We firmly believe what goes around comes around.
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, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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.