Life Advice



Ask Amy: Stepchild would like for dad to leave stepmom at home

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Do I have any hope of getting my dad to come around and have a relationship with me and his grandkids that doesn't include her?

– Tired of Toxicity

Dear Tired: I’m so sorry that your father didn’t protect you – or at least advocate for you — when you were a teenager and being verbally abused by his wife.

Given that he didn’t protect you then, and won’t engage about this now, I think it is very unlikely that he will cooperate when it comes to any conditions you try to impose.

Based on how you describe this, you seem to be trying to do for your children what your father didn’t do for you when you were young. That’s a parent’s job, and you’re doing it.

You have laid down some clear boundaries and your father can either respect them and see you and the children occasionally on his own, or he can berate you and call you selfish for trying to be a more protective parent than he was. The choice, really, is his.


Dear Amy: I have one daughter, who is now an adult with a husband and three grown children of her own. My grandchildren are all in their 30s.

I have never missed a birthday, holiday etc., consistently giving gifts to those grandchildren. I usually give each of them $100 for holidays and birthdays.

When they were young, they all thanked me.

At this point, the 33-year-old always phones me to say “thanks” for every gift, but the other two — nothing! No acknowledgment, whatsoever.


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