Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: At a Loss

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My daughter-in-law is bipolar and refuses to take anything for it. Now her illness is affecting my relationship with my 9-year-old grandson.

My husband and I practically raised my grandson until he was 4. Neither parent wanted much to do with him. We clothed and fed him without a stitch of help. A few years ago, however, the two of them finally noticed how close we were to the boy, and they began bribing him to stay at home by buying him everything under the sun. He still spent weekends with us, but his mother would grill him afterward to find out what we had talked about.

A few weeks ago, she and I talked, and I thought we had a good discussion. We reassured her that all we wanted to know was how our grandson was doing in school. But we discovered that my daughter-in-law was pressuring him to say something negative about us, and eventually, he started telling her all kinds of things that weren't remotely true. Now they refuse to let him visit at all, saying he doesn't wish to come. What's worse is that my daughter-in-law put our entire estrangement on Facebook and called me a few nasty names to boot.

When my daughter-in-law spent a week in the hospital, I had to hear it from a friend who watched our grandson for her. I was livid. When my grandson's school called to ask me to help the kids make bouquets for their mothers, I refused. That made her angry, but frankly, had I agreed to the bouquet, I know my daughter-in-law would have found some reason to hate it.

I still would like to be a part of my grandson's life, but it isn't allowed. What bothers me most is that my own son won't stand up for us. Do we just hope they come to their senses some day? -- At a Loss

Dear Loss: These estrangements are heartbreaking, not only because the grandparents lose out, but the grandchildren are deprived of a loving relationship. Some states recognize grandparents rights, but not all, which is why we recommend trying to get back in your daughter-in-law's good graces, whether or not she deserves it. She controls the relationship. The alternative is to lose contact entirely.

Dear Annie: I love my job and the people I work with. However, my immediate supervisor and I have very different social and political views. He seems intent on getting me to come around to his way of thinking.

These kinds of discussions make me uncomfortable. I don't want to tell him what I'm really thinking. And more often than not, I'm completely caught off guard and blindsided by his statements. How do I respond without putting my job in jeopardy or making him angry? -- No Political Talk


Dear No: It's perfectly OK to tell someone that you are uncomfortable discussing politics at work. If that doesn't help, your safest bet is to politely ignore him, nodding and busying yourself with work. Or plaster a big smile on your face and reply, "We'll just have to agree to disagree." Repeat as needed. Of course, if he harangues you, you should mention it to human resources.

Dear Annie: "Cash Strapped for College" doesn't want savings bonds as gifts because he assumes they are of little immediate value to a student who needs the money for books, etc.

My husband and I knew that we might not live to see our last grandchild graduate from college. We took the same amount of money that we had given the other grandchildren and bought two U.S. savings bonds with it.

Well, my husband did not live to see our granddaughter graduate, but her gift was still from both of us, and no one else could use the money. If we had put cash away, she might not have received it, and at the time, it would have been only from me. -- Grandma of a College Graduate


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. 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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