Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Grandparents want alone-time with the grandkids

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Any thoughts on how we can handle this?

-- Sad and Disheartened Grandparents

Dear Sad: Because this grandmother is so intimately involved in this family's life, a grandchildren extraction could be extremely difficult. Presumably the couple relies on her for lots of help with the children. You may also assume that they either like her very much and value her presence in their lives, or they need/want the help so much that they are willing to tolerate her boundary-leaping omnipresence.

Because your daughter-in-law was so rude and hostile toward your idea of seeing the children on their own -- and your son is so disappointingly passive -- if you want to risk one more "ask," you should appeal directly to the grandmother. Act as if you are asking her permission, and she might grant it.

Say, "We enjoy seeing you during our visits, but we'd also love to spend some alone-time with just us and the kids. Would you mind if we took them out by ourselves one afternoon while we're here? We'd really appreciate it."

Dear Amy: Last week, my favorite uncle passed away unexpectedly. I am not on speaking terms with his daughter, my cousin.

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She has a long history of verbally degrading me, then insisting I'm "too sensitive" or "mentally unstable" when I get upset. I believe this stems from her own insecurity issues, but after 30 years, I had to put up some boundaries for my own well-being.

I maintained a positive relationship with her parents. I attended my uncle's funeral, was civil and polite to my cousin and directly expressed my condolences to her.

The morning before the funeral, I was still Facebook friends with my uncle. I showed my husband pictures of trips we'd gone on together, as well as conversations we had about books.

Sometime after the funeral, I was deleted from my uncle's Facebook friend list and all of our mutual posts were wiped out. I suspect my cousin did this, and I appear to be the only family member eliminated -- even my husband is still on his "friends" list.

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