Dear Annie: Because you offer reasonable and caring solutions, I want to ask your opinion about this problem. My son and his wife, the parents of a 4-year-old girl, divorced recently.
Although the mother suffers from mental illness, the judge placed the little girl with her mom, with the understanding that the mother would receive regular medication monitoring and outpatient therapy, which she had not sought during the prior 17 months. The judge ordered that my son would be allowed to have frequent and liberal visitation with his daughter.
The problem is that one month later, the mother is already manipulating the situation and refusing visits to my son. It is extremely frustrating that she is allowed to get away with noncompliance and not putting the best interests of their daughter before her own desire to punish my son.
My ex-daughter-in-law was the one who wanted out of the marriage, and she is the one who moved away. Is there any way for my little granddaughter to win? Hurting Grandma
Dear Grandma: It's terribly sad when divorced parents cannot put the needs of their children first, but it is a common problem. If your ex-daughter-in-law is not complying with a court order, your son should speak to his attorney and see that the matter is brought up in court as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, you need to be a source of support and comfort. Encourage your son not to give up on his daughter, no matter how difficult his ex-wife makes things, and to keep on top of the situation to be sure his daughter remains safe.
Dear Annie: Whenever my father comes over to our house for a family get-together, he immediately sits down and turns on the television. He doesn't get along well with any other members of the family and resorts to watching TV as an excuse not to make conversation.
I talked to Dad about this last night, and he said if I can't put up with his TV watching, I shouldn't invite him to these informal parties. Annie, I really love my father, but he's putting me Between a Rock and a Hard Place in Missouri
Dear Rock: If you're asking us if Dad is rude, the answer is yes. If you're asking what you can do about it, your father already has provided the answer. Since he doesn't get along with any other family members, it's quite an indication of his love for you that he bothers to show up at these events. Either let him watch TV in peace, or invite him over when you don't have other company.
Dear Annie: I live in a small town sandwiched between river bluffs. It is not possible to receive cell phone service here, a common problem in many rural areas surrounded by hills. I have a cell phone for use when I am on the road, but I absolutely cannot use it in town.
When I try to explain this to my friends, they look at me as if I'm technologically ignorant. Worse, people continually call my cell phone and leave messages that I don't even know about until I am out on the road days later.
We live in pockets where the technology just does not work, and we accept that without complaint. Our complaint is the people who don't get it. Please tell them to call us on our land-based phones if they really want to reach us. Down in the Valley
Dear Valley: Your friends are the ones who sound a little slow on the pick-up. Of course, there are places where cell phones do not work, even in large urban areas. Put an outgoing message on your cell phone indicating that you are out of reach and to call your land line, along with the number. Those who still don't "get it" will just have to wait.
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