Life Advice



Child of generous parents wants to give back

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My parents are the best. Like, the very best. Picture the mom who sends impromptu "thinking of you" cards and care packages, and the dad who checks your oil. They have always supported me emotionally, mentally, and even financially when I was in college. I live every day full of gratitude for their love and the life they were able to give my brother and me.

Even though I am now in my 30s, married, have an awesome career, they are still trying to take care of me. When we go out to eat, even if they travel to visit me, they still try to pay the bill. This normally ends in a battle to get the check at the end of the meal. Sheesh -- the poor waiters and waitresses who have to put up with us at the end of the meal (it's not an actual yelling battle, more like a comedy of trying to hide the other person's wallet).

That in itself is not so big a deal, but in a few weeks we will be temporarily moving in with my parents for three to six months so we can shop/build a home closer to them, due to my dad's declining health.

I have brought up the subject of paying rent or taking over the groceries and utilities, but they won't hear of it!

Amy, how do I get my parents to realize that they raised a daughter who is responsible, successful and is entirely capable of not only taking care of herself but able to show my appreciation for them in return? And that it would make me uncomfortable feeling like I was mooching off my parents, even for a short time?

-- Daughter in a Dilemma


Dear Daughter: Your folks may never be able to accept money from you, but you should do your very best to be of service to them while you are living in their home. For instance, if your mother insists on doing all of the cooking (I could imagine this), you and your husband should do all of the clean-up. You should see if you can take on some of the driving and errand-running, such as taking them to doctor's appointments and picking up groceries for the household. If your mother gives you a list, you might be able to actually pay for something.

You and your husband should also make sure you have a set schedule of times when you will not be home (for instance, a regular "date night"), so your folks can retreat to their own routines.

Accept your parents' largesse with grace. Love them with equal abundance. If your father's health continues to fail, you will be asked to step up in all sorts of ways - and you will.

Dear Amy: Do you have any advice on how to get people to comprehend that when I say I don't hear well, it means I cannot understand what they say?


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