Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Sibling wants coming-out guide for 'Modern Family'

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

I don't want to label you as a homophobe, and yet: You are filled with dread and anxiety about the "awkwardness" of your brother's sexuality. You have an aversion to it. This seems fairly phobic to me.

Your youngest brother might be spoiled, emotional and dramatic -- and perhaps that's what you are dreading. But his sexuality is really not up for dispute or discussion. You don't get to approve or disapprove. If a family member has a romantic partner that seems unfit, the best thing to do is to meet that person. The only way to influence this young man is from inside the family fold.

If I authored a pamphlet for "going from awkward to 'Modern Family,'" it would really be a bumper sticker: Grow up!

Dear Amy: When my wife and I were first married, we would invite my parents to our home for Sunday dinner. On many occasions, my mother, who was an excellent cook, would bring pots of her cooking (without asking) to serve at the dinners. She told my wife to put away the food that she had spent time preparing for another occasion, and to use my mother's food instead.

My wife felt that she was being belittled and unappreciated. She asked me on numerous occasions to ask my mother not to bring food without previously letting us know her intentions so that my wife would not work in vain. I did so reluctantly, to no avail.

What is the appropriate response to this situation? What is the correct and gracious thing to do?

My thought process at the time was that it was more gracious, with any guest, to use the food that the guest prepared. My wife felt intimidated by her new mother-in-law. She still insists that I was remiss in not more forcefully communicating her wishes. What is the appropriate response in this situation?

-- Hungry Husband

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Dear Hungry: It is not appropriate for a guest to bring an entree and insist that her dish must be served for dinner. You and your wife should have said to her, "When we are invited to your house, we will happily eat the delicious food you prepare for us. At our house, we'd like you to eat the food we prepare. At the very least, please let us know your cooking plans in advance."

This is an "Everybody Loves Raymond" dynamic. And, just like in the long-running sitcom, sometimes it is wisest to basically give in.

Dear Amy: I'm writing in appreciation for your "Book on Every Bed" literacy campaign. My family started putting wrapped books on our kids' beds several years ago at your suggestion, and now this is a treasured family tradition!

-- Happy Parents

Dear Happy: Literacy starts with books, and takes hold when books are shared. I am grateful to families who have adopted this tradition.


(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: Readers may send postal mail to Amy Dickinson, c/o Tribune Content Agency, 16650 Westgrove Drive, Suite 175, Addison, Texas, 75001. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.)



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