Life Advice



Ask Amy: Parents seem to be using their kids as leverage

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: Our daughter and son-in-law got mad at us for not giving them some of their inheritance, and now they refuse to acknowledge gifts that we send to the grandkids.

We have sent Christmas and birthday gifts to them and they have always, in the past, acknowledged our gifts with a thank you text.

Now we don't know whether or not the parents have given our grandchildren the gifts we have sent.

They haven't spoken to us or answered texts in over four months.

Should we continue to send gifts to our grandchildren? They live 300 miles away. The kids are 10 and 12. The adults are in their 40s and have master's degrees. They make good money and live in a $600,000 home. We are retired.

-- Generous Grandparents


Dear Grandparents: If these parents are deliberately punishing you in this way, then they are entitled offspring -- and not very good parents.

No one should weaponize the relationship with the children to serve an agenda. The parents should not withhold a relationship between you and the kids, and you should not slink back in fear because they haven't texted you.

I suggest that you call your daughter. If she doesn't answer, leave a neutral message: "Hi, just checking in...." If you do speak with her, break the ice with some small talk: How is she doing? Are things OK? Is everybody healthy? How are the kids? Are they nearby? Do they want to say hi?

The message is, you consider the inheritance issue closed and are moving on. You gave them an answer they didn't like, and they seem to want to sulk about it. If your daughter does bring it up, then talk things through calmly -- without giving in.


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