Q. I am on my third marriage. My first marriage produced one son, “Karl,” who is 30 years old and is in and out of jail. Karl has a young son whom I treasure immensely and see every other weekend.
My daughter, who is 25 (from my second marriage), recently had a baby son. At the time, I was estranged from my third husband, who has a history of emotionally and physically abusing me.
I went back to my husband when my grandson was a month old. I know it is difficult to understand, but I really love him and want to make the marriage work. He has made promises to me and agrees to attend counseling.
My daughter is upset and will not let my grandson be a part of my life. I even told her I would go to her house and see the baby apart from my husband.
I am heartbroken over my daughter’s decision and wonder what, if anything, can I do to get her to change her mind. My husband has a criminal background, so I think it would be difficult to try to go to court to win visitation rights. I’m at a loss and need advice. Is there anything I can do?
A. How’s the counseling going?
I’m going to assume that you aren’t following through with counseling, but you should because a neutral person could explain that your daughter is doing what good daughters (and young moms) are supposed to do: try to protect family members from danger.
Your daughter is saying, “Mom, I want you to stay away from this guy because he’s not good for you or our family. If you choose to stay with him, you won’t have access to your grandson because this is the only non-negotiable I have that may get you to think about what you are doing.”
I can’t provide you with ways to manipulate your daughter into giving you what you want because I agree with her decision. And so far it’s working — because it really got your attention.
Q. I am starting college soon and feel as if my parents don’t care. They say they are happy for me and are going to miss me, but they act and talk to me like it’s no big deal.
I leave in 2½ weeks for a place eight hours away. I work three jobs and feel as if I’m not ready to move because I don’t have time to pack.
My parents aren’t helpful. Everything I say about school is brushed off.
How can I fix this and get them on board?
A. Believe it or not, your folks are also feeling anxious. They are coping with it by trying to reassure you (and themselves) by ignoring the importance of your departure. It sounds as if they are going overboard with their assurances, and you could use some TLC.
Instead of saying, “Why won’t you help me get ready for college?” You can say, “Mom, here is a list my university sent of stuff I’ll need for my room. Can you help me pick out some sheets and towels?”
You can also say, “Dad, I’m nervous. You and Mom are being so cool, it seems as if you don’t really care that I’m leaving home, but I could use an extra hug.”
If your folks are like most people, they will finally lose it at a very random moment, like in front of your new roommate.
Please be very understanding when they do.