Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My father, who has been remarried for 17 years, has a stepson, “James,” who is 15 years younger than I am. I like James, but he is the son my father always wanted, the golden child with an interesting and prestigious job, who speaks two languages, is married with two beautiful children, well, you get the idea.
I have dealt with my father’s favoritism for many years and never said a word. But two months ago, I sent my father a high school graduation announcement for my youngest son. We never heard back. When I called and asked if he got the announcement, he replied, “Yeah, and I don’t see what the big deal is.”
I was crushed. His attitude rendered me speechless. I was holding back tears. The conversation continued about James’ child’s latest, greatest accomplishment. I can’t take it anymore and feel it may be easier to simply stop speaking to my father. Any advice? — Second Best
Dear Second Best: Some parents find it difficult to praise their own children, but have no such reluctance about children they didn’t raise. And your father likely is living vicariously through James, but it doesn’t mean he loves him more. You must tell Dad how much his attitude hurts, or nothing will ever change. If you can do it calmly, face to face, it would be best, but even a phone call is better than silence.
Dear Annie: We live in a very nice neighborhood, and there are a lot of children. These children run across the street without looking for cars. They ride their scooters in the middle of the street. The parents are nowhere in sight.
I have teenagers, and while they know to be on the lookout for these children, they have lots of friends who come and go, not to mention other people who cruise down our street not expecting children to be in the way.
What happened to teaching your children safety rules? What happened to responsible parenting? When my children were that age, one of us was always outside watching them. We aren’t particularly chummy with the neighbors, but we will wave to each other in passing. How can we get these parents to take care of their children without causing trouble? — Bettendorf, Iowa
Dear Bettendorf: Some parents are lazy and don’t pay attention to potential dangers until there is a tragedy. The next time you see one of these parents, you might casually say, “Your children are so adorable. I hope no one comes barreling down the street when they are running around. Terrible things can happen so quickly.”
You also should consider teaching the children what their parents do not. Ask the parents if you can give the kids some cookies. While they are munching away, explain that cars cannot always see them when they dash into the street or ride their scooters in traffic. Tell them to play on the sidewalk, or at the very least, to get off the road when they hear a car. You also can ask your local police for assistance.
Dear Annie: “Father of Freddie the Freeloader” made it clear that he is upset his son “bailed” and got a GED. This irritates me.
My niece recently received her GED a year earlier than she would have graduated high school and is now attending college. Yet her family is ashamed that she didn’t graduate with her class and get a regular diploma. My brother has two degrees. He is a flight paramedic and a registered nurse. He saves lives and earns more in one day than most people do in a week. He got his GED at the age of 18. It didn’t hold him back.
People should stop focusing on how the diploma was obtained, and simply be happy, proud and excited that others are furthering their education. — Omaha, Neb.
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, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 9.24.10