Life Advice



Ask Amy: Mother-in-law triggers traumatic experience

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Paying for housing gives them experience and exposure to – valuing the roof over their heads.

You and your husband should lay down reasonable expectations for all of your sons, and even if this is an extreme change for them – you parents should stick to your guns.

Do NOT pick up after them. Hound them. It’s more work for you – but you want them to hear your voice in their heads while they develop some life skills.

Choose a move-out date, stick to it, and cheerfully help them to look for housing.

Until then, you and your husband should hold weekly family meetings, where you review how things are going and receive updates from them.

Dear Amy: “Big Tipper in NJ” asked if a restaurant tip should be based on the total before-tax, or after.

Thank you for encouraging generosity.


My response would have been simpler: If you can’t afford to tip a server based on the entire bill (usually a difference amounting to loose change) then you should not dine out and let others serve you.

– Big Tipper

Dear Tipper: Great answer (and thank you for the tip)!


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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