Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Worried Parents

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My husband and I have a 21-year-old daughter with Fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that often includes learning disabilities and cognitive impairment. "Jeanette" has always gone to private schools with special education classes. She's done quite well academically, but has always had trouble socially. She had few friends and no boyfriends.

Jeanette is now in college and can access private tutoring and counseling there. She did OK until her junior year. Now she is on academic probation. She won't communicate with me because I tried to contact a woman her age who also has Fragile X. The woman offered to reach out to our daughter, but it made Jeanette furious with me. She decided to leave home in January and stay in an apartment with someone. We have no idea who.

We are worried about her, but because of her age we are stuck. We have parent loans that will be due when she graduates. Do we have any recourse due to her special education status? Could we get power of attorney or have her to sign a form so we can talk directly to the school authorities? We love our daughter. She is our only child. -- Worried Parents

Dear Parents: We understand why you are worried, but while Jeanette may still need assistance in some areas, she also might be able to handle more independence. After all, we assume your goal is to have your daughter be able to support herself and have a good life without leaning on you. Unless you believe she is in serious physical danger, please don't try to wrest control of her life.

It might help to see whether a mediator can help work out these differences with Jeanette so all of you can express your needs and concerns. If you give a little, she may be more willing to let you into her life. Perhaps a mutual friend can put you in touch or you can ask the school to find out if Jeanette is willing. Also, please contact the National Fragile X Foundation ( at 1-800-688-8765.

Dear Annie: This is in response to "Foolish Daughter in the Midwest," who was angry when she found out that her parents were leaving all of their land overseas to her brothers, who never provide any help with their care.


I, too, spent large amounts of my time and money helping my mother care for my father, who had severe dementia. My brother and sister refused to do a thing, nor did they visit my father in the nursing home. When my father died, I learned that my parents will be giving the bulk of their estate to those same uncaring siblings.

My mother will soon need care. I have made the painful decision that I will not be responsible for her, primarily because I cannot afford the financial burden. "Foolish" should accept that she cannot change her dysfunctional family. But she can set healthy limits on how much to help. Her parents' finances and assets should be used to cover their care. -- Wiser Now

Dear Wiser: While parents do not owe their children an inheritance, they sometimes don't realize that favoring one child over another in the will, regardless of the reason, can cause hurt feelings that last the rest of their lives.


Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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