Life Advice



Ask Amy: Daughter longs for more from parents

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My parents were absentee grandparents, despite my longing for more.

For many years and on several occasions, I tearfully asked my mother why they ultimately favored my sibling’s children over my own.

We all live in the same town.

The answer I got implied that my folks had provided some financial assistance to my sibling at some point and that because of that, they were entitled to special grandparent treatment.

My parents basically said that I don’t have a right to tell them what to do or not to do. I respect that, despite the fact that I didn’t like that answer at all – then or now.

Now they are retired and miserable and broke.

My mom has more than hinted on several occasions that she plans to move in with me if my dad passes away before her. They never planned for retirement financially.

Why does she feel entitled?

Should I feel obligated to help?

Why would this responsibility fall solely on me?

I feel like telling her that they cannot tell me what I can or cannot do in much the same way they told me.

Please share your opinion with me. I have no idea how to tackle the subject with them or my siblings, even though the topic keeps coming up again and again.

– Stung Daughter

Dear Stung: Reading your narrative, I see “implying,” “hinting,” and actions speaking louder than words.

You seem to be the only person to have actually asked a family member a direct question: “Why do you favor my sibling’s children?” The answer you got: “You can’t tell me what to do,” isn’t an answer. It’s actually an unrelated statement.

I congratulate you for having full use of your voice, and I suggest that you continue to use it in a clear and authentic way – to state your intentions and exactly how you feel.

Your mother seems to have appointed you the family scapegoat. Your mother is entitled. She is entitled to her opinion, and not much beyond that.

If you don’t want your mother to live with you, then tell her so: “Mom, you’re going to have to look for other housing, because I am not willing to have you move in with me.” You could be helpful by researching low-income elder housing in your area.

Relationships in your family seem to be transactional. If that is the case, then you definitely don’t owe your parents anything, because – according to you – you haven’t received the thing you wanted the most from them – their attention.

Fortunately, you have siblings. They seem to have better relationships with your folks, and so you can toss this problem in their direction.


Dear Amy: We attended a wedding nine months ago and still have not received a thank you note for the generous gift we gave to the couple.

This was a traditional three-day weekend affair that required travel, multiple outfits and, of course, a very nice wedding gift.

The couple has offered multiple excuses for why they haven’t sent their thank yous (their wedding photos coming back, holiday cards, etc.) but … nothing.

Adding to their excuses, every Wednesday they post a “Wedding Wednesday” flashback to social media where they share pictures, stories, hints and tips about curating the perfect wedding … yet – no thank you!

We have received no email, no generic mass-market thank you on social media. Literally nothing.

The bride’s sister is getting married next year, and we are wondering if the same scenario is going to repeat itself!

H ave times changed? Did I miss the memo?

– Feeling Confused

Dear Confused: The frustration of not being thanked properly is one of the most frequent problems readers present.

Times have indeed changed.

It is no longer necessary to sit down and write notes on creamy monogrammed stationery. Technology has made thanking people so much easier! Married couples can text people a personal thank-you video, write a thoughtful email, call, message, or send a postcard.

The couple you are referring to are particularly brazen. Sharing their “Wedding Wednesdays” rubs their guests’ noses in their rudeness.

I think that you should very politely call them out: “We love your ‘Wedding Wednesdays.’ Maybe you should host a ‘Thank you Thursday’ where you teach people how to curate the perfect ‘thank you’ moment!”

Dear Readers: My last column will run at the end of this month. R. Eric Thomas will start a new advice column, “Asking Eric.”

You can help Eric get started by sending your questions to


(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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