Dear Annie: My son “Tim” is engaged to “Jennifer”, a woman he has seen for many years. They have two young children together. My problem is that Jennifer doesn’t get a job. Tim supports them all. She worked before her first child, but not since then.
We suggested to all of her that we would get a job and even find jobs for her, but her answer is always the same: “I can’t take my children to a daycare center! Nobody knows them there.” Of course – no one will know them if they are always at home and don’t meet new children and people.
Tim and Jennifer are planning to get married in the next few years and I have a feeling that she is taking advantage of him. Her mother was the same when she was growing up. Help! What can a person do? He shouldn’t have to work his butt off to support them all. – – Mom needs help
Dear mum: I understand your readiness to protect: He will always be your little boy. But he’s a grown man too, and if he’s unhappy with Jennifer’s dynamic – which is not even clear from your letter – it’s up to him to talk to her about it.
The best thing you can do is let him know that you are always there when he wants to talk about things. Provide a sensitive ear. If he asks, offer your perspective. But whatever you do, stop offering the classifieds section to your future daughter-in-law. Because, despite our best (and well-intentioned) efforts, loved ones have this bothersome thing called free will – and we must accept that fact if we are to have healthy relationships with them.
Dear Annie: I have a 45 year old son who has been all my life. But he’s always been in and out of the drug scene. He has two sons of his own, neither of whom will speak to him, me, or anyone else in our family. Even though he always worked and paid his child support. He has a temper that is out of this world.
Almost 10 years ago he went to church and was even baptized and saved. Now he’s made a 180-degree turn – again. He doesn’t work and currently lives with his father and me. I’m trying to talk to him, but I can’t seem to have a conversation with him without him getting angry. Still, he doesn’t seem to be using drugs or drinking.
We really don’t know what to do at this point. We still take him to church with us when we go, but he never wants to go with us. Any suggestions for me? – Worried about my son
Better to be concerned: Decades of living with the addictive disease can skew perspective – and I’m not just referring to your son. You have lived with the disease, and it is just as important that you recover. Many resources are available, including therapy; Books like Melody Beatties “Codependent No More”; and programs like Nar-Anon (www.nar-anon.org/virtual-meetings), Al-Anon (www.al-anon.org) or LifeRing Recovery (www.lifering.org).
While it is still difficult for many of us to meet in person, Nar-Anon and LifeRing hold online meetings via video conferencing, and Al-Anon hosts online meetings as well as telephone meetings.
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