Family Communication Gap Is Sparked By Dad’s Disapproval
DEAR ABBY: We are from the Middle East. My younger brother married an American woman and moved to Arizona, where her family lives. Because our dad didn’t approve, my brother made the plans behind our back and told Dad in an email. He also didn’t mention that they were moving until a week before the wedding.
We have just found out from a friend that they’re having a baby. They’ll probably tell us after the baby is born. I have tried to get through to my brother that these secrets are not good for the relationship, but talking to him is frustrating. If they do give us the news after the baby is born, I no longer wish to speak to him. Is this OK? What should I do? — FRUSTRATED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Your brother and sister-in-law’s silence likely has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the way he and his wife felt about your father’s disapproval of their marriage. They may have moved to Arizona because Arizona felt more welcoming than being close to your father did.
If possible, avoid the temptation to personalize the breach that has occurred. Try to keep the lines of communication open with your brother, because in the future it may be important. A card congratulating them on the birth of their baby would be a place to start.
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DEAR ABBY: How does one tactfully deal with a super-sized guest? My husband can’t travel anymore due to health issues. His brother and wife want to visit us. She weighs well over 400 pounds. My furniture probably won’t hold her. To put it nicely, she is not “graceful.”
We can rent a larger vehicle while they’re here because she won’t be able to fit in ours. I will have to pay someone to reinforce the bed in the guest room. We live in a rural area and there are no hotels nearby.
This is my husband’s only living sibling, so at our age, who knows when we may ever see them again. Any suggestions? — ONLY SIBLING
DEAR ONLY SIBLING: I do have one. Invest in a large, sturdy, comfortable chair that can accommodate your houseguest and guide her to it when she arrives.
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DEAR ABBY: My 8-year-old daughter, “Rapunzel,” is due for a haircut and always wanted to keep her hair long, which my husband and I have encouraged. That was until my mother moved in. Mother now says things to her like, “Don’t you want short hair like mine?” and, “It’s so much easier to take care of when it’s short.”
Now Rapunzel wants a short haircut, and my husband and I are irate. We let her dress however she wants, but this is where we draw the line. I know hair grows back, but we feel my mother has stepped out of line. Who is in the wrong? — RAPUNZEL’S MOM
DEAR MOM: Did you discuss your displeasure with your mother the first time she started trying to persuade your daughter to cut her hair? If you did and she persisted, then SHE is in the wrong.
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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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