By Kathy Mitchell
and Marcy Sugar
Dear Annie: I’m having a difficult time dealing with my adult stepdaughter, “Daphne.” Last year, Daphne threatened to kill herself and we had to take custody of our 3-year-old grandson to prevent Child Protective Services from putting him in foster care. It’s not the first time they’ve taken her son away.
Daphne completed the necessary steps to get her son back. She also finished a training program, but didn’t find a job, and now is considering going back to school. She has been on government assistance for years, but we have yet to see any effort on her part to make her life better.
The caseworker suggested we take our grandson every other weekend, and we have. Here’s the issue. Whenever we pick him up, he is wearing shoes that are at least six months old and too small. We know. We bought them. Daphne insists it’s all she has, yet she has money to go out and party. For years, we have tried to help her manage her money, and we’ve bailed her out of debt many times.
Right now, we are on a tight budget so our financial assistance has come to a halt. However, Daphne still expects us to buy our grandson’s shoes. I wish we could afford to clothe the boy properly, but we simply don’t have the money now.
During the past two visits, we’ve noticed our grandson is regressing from his potty training. I’m tired of Daphne’s lies about her financial situation, but this little boy is getting the short end of the stick. Do you have any suggestions?
Want To Help but Can’t Anymore
Dear Trying: These situations are terribly sad. The wonderful folks at Child Welfare Information Gateway suggested you contact Childhelp, at 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453), which maintains a nationwide referral network of services for children and families, including counseling and crisis assistance. Also try the Grandparent Information Center at aarp.org/grandparents. AARP can also link you to a support group in your area.
Dear Annie: I have had a difficult year. I had several surgeries, and then my sister passed away. I was out of the state with her family for an extended period of time.
I have been home for weeks, but no one has contacted me. I am so hurt by people I considered close friends who didn’t bother to call or even send a card. For some bizarre reason, these seemingly smart women thought it was OK to say “I am sorry for you” on Facebook.
When they had problems, I was the first one with supper and a hug, and all I get are silly, immature Facebook posts. How do I get past this?
Dear Heartbroken: We cannot excuse such behavior, but we do know that some people are terribly uncomfortable dealing with grief. Posting condolences on Facebook is a way for them to believe they have fulfilled their obligation to say “sorry” while keeping an emotional distance. If you wish to give them another chance, invite them to drop by and say you missed hearing from them.