Life Advice



Ask Amy: Runner needs to leap over frequent texter

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

My daughter obviously wanted to supervise her phone calls, which I thought was controlling. She mailed me the phone back with a nasty letter. This upset me greatly.

It has been 18 months with no contact.

A Christmas or birthday present is always acknowledged with a short, curt text from my daughter – never my granddaughter.

My relationship has always been strained due to my divorce 25 years ago, but it was a fantastic visit and we got along quite well, so I am at a loss, Amy.

I go with the flow and am not a curmudgeon in any way.

Any advice on how to proceed?

– Distant Grandpa

Dear Distant: This visit went very well. But you live across the country. To your granddaughter, you are a nice old man whom she doesn’t know very well.

I don’t know of many adolescents who would be able to forge a one-on-one relationship with a distant grandfather over the phone. Kids generally prefer texting. Texting photos and funny memes back and forth from your phone to hers would have been a good way to establish a connection.


Your daughter’s suggestion for a regular Zoom meeting was a great one.

Your immediate assumption that she wants to “monitor” your contact is off-base. Most parents know that kids this age don’t easily dive into relationship-building; the parent’s presence on the video chat helps to move things along because they can prompt both the child and the elder into topics of mutual interest.

You have put a ton of pressure on this single visit to build one relationship and heal another, but even close and functioning families go through rough patches and miscommunications.

I hope you’ll keep trying to connect, and not take things so personally as you go.


(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.)

©2024 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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