Posted: Saturday, August 16, 2008 10:20 am
Dear Annie: I’m a proud father of two handsome boys, ages 14 and 11. Their mother and I are divorced. I recently found out through DNA testing that my 14-year-old is not my biological son. This has devastated my family. When I called my ex-wife about it, she responded, “Whatever,” and hung up the phone. I haven’t spoken to her since, so I got no apology or anything. Now I hear she wants to introduce my son to his biological father.
Fourteen years is a long time and I can’t let go. It hurts. I’m concerned about my son and what’s on his mind. What can I do? — Disenfranchised Dad
Dear Dad: You don’t have to “let go.” You raised this boy, and he is still your son, emotionally and possibly legally as well. You should maintain a relationship no matter what your ex-wife does. If you have visitation rights (and you should), you will have an opportunity to discuss his feelings. However, we urge you not to make the situation more stressful. It will not hurt your son to have another person in his life who cares about him. Be supportive of any meeting with his biological father, while reassuring him that it does not lessen how much you love him. And if his biological father does not want a relationship, your son will need you more than ever.
Dear Annie: What is the difference between “grandparenting” and “baby-sitting”? I say grandparenting is spending time with your grandchildren because you want to. Baby-sitting is doing it because you’ve been asked to.
My in-laws live less than five miles away. We have two very well-behaved children, yet the only time my in-laws see them is on holidays and maybe a birthday party or soccer game. They’ve taken each of our children to see one stage show, but as far as taking them to the park, having them over for ice cream or even setting aside an hour a week to read to them, forget it. My in-laws are just “too busy.”
Because they are almost completely removed from my children’s lives, I ask them to baby-sit once or twice a month. I feel I have to initiate contact by “needing” their assistance. Yes, I’ve spoken to my mother-in-law about it, but nothing has changed. I’d be interested to get some feedback. — Midwest Mom
Dear Mom: Not all grandparents know how to interact with young children and many prefer not to. They’ve already raised their children, thank you, and now they’d like to pursue their own interests. It doesn’t mean they don’t love the grandchildren, and it’s very possible they will relate better when the children are older. If your in-laws are willing to baby-sit on occasion, by all means, continue to ask them.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Worried Sick in the Midwest,” who was concerned about her college-age daughter’s increasing girth.
I have read every bit of advice on the subject, I think, but no one has ever mentioned the idea of EATING SLOWLY. Ever since I was forced to eat slowly due to a gagging problem, I have found it a good habit. Meals become more enjoyable, food gets chewed more thoroughly, which is recommended, and you can relax and enjoy what you’re eating. And the amount of food you consume before feeling satisfied is substantially less.
Until this “aha” moment, I’d constantly been thinking about calories, quantity and the whole disgusting food obsession. Now I am relaxed about the subject since I know I’m not about to overeat — huge amounts are just not appealing anymore. I strongly recommend a slowing down of the eating process for one’s overall health and enjoyment of life in general. — Ravenna, Neb.
Dear Ravenna: Most dieticians will tell you that eating more slowly gives the brain time to register that you are full, and consequently, you eat less. Thanks for mentioning this simple and effective diet aid.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.15.08