Life Advice



Ask Amy: New grandmother pushes family’s boundaries

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Boundaries must be drawn. After you draw your boundaries, you should patrol them — respectfully, but firmly and consistently.

Essentially, you will be training your mother-in-law on how to treat your family. If you demonstrate some leadership now, you will have the opportunity to establish a healthier and more respectful relationship moving forward.

If you don’t like the pressure of handling an extra person in your household for a week every month, you should take steps to reduce either the frequency of these visits, or their duration.

Also, for perspective, ask yourselves: Five years from now, which aspects of these visits will you regret the most? Try to take the longest view — are there childrearing matters where you can be more flexible? Are you so bothered by her overwhelming presence that you are missing opportunities to learn from her?

Then, you and your husband should outline the basics: “Mom, we don’t expect you to do things exactly the way we do, but you must respect our choices for how we’re raising ‘Sam.’ This is important to us.” And then every single time she deliberately subverts you, you’ll have to remind her and tell her, honestly, how her behavior makes you feel (disrespected and frustrated).

Express your honest hope that you can work things out, because you genuinely want to support her having an active and positive relationship with her wonderful grandson.


Dear Amy: My ex-husband remarried after we broke up.

Even though he has a wife and a baby, he still calls me every day. We continue to see one another and have rekindled our sexual and emotional relationship.

I’m confused. I’d like your ideas on how I can pursue him, even though he’s not necessarily available.

– Back in Love


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