Mother raised the kids to be independent. Now what?
-- Befuddled Mom
Dear Befuddled: I think that you should occasionally force your kids to do "family things." This demonstrates that there are times when they should, in fact, engage in relationship-building activities just because other people want them to.
The place to start this campaign might be during your seven-minute dinners.
Your children should in fact be forced to stay at the table and converse -- or wait patiently with their phones elsewhere -- until everyone is done eating. Then, unless they have cooked the meal, they should clear the table and clean the dishes. This is basic life skills 101.
And yes, occasionally you should force-march them through a family hike or into a museum with you and their father, simply because you are all in a family together. They should also be forced to attend celebrations or memorial services for family members, even if they have other plans. And yes, you should ignore the complaining. And yes, they will still love you.
Dear Amy: I love my significant other, but when we have issues she stonewalls me.
She has gone through things in her past and they make her shut down when we have problems.
I don't know how to get through to her. I want to stick around, I want her to get better, but nothing I say is the right thing and nothing I do is the right thing.
I love her so much, but my heart literally breaks every day when she shuts me out.
I don't want her to go through all this alone, but I am losing myself.