Ask Amy: My son-in-law is a “tramp” who doesn’t help my daughter

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dear Amy: I have come to the conclusion that my son-in-law is a tramp.

My daughter gives birth, breastfeeds her babies, works full time, cooks, cleans and transports the children where they need to go.

He quit a job without first finding a new job and has now been unemployed for months.

I thought it was bad when his only responsibility was his 9 to 5 job and he didn’t do anything beyond that. Now he is unemployed, but now his only responsibility is his six softball leagues and the various corn hole tournaments he participates in at night. He watches TV all day.

He is mildly verbally abusive towards me and my daughter. His favorite phase is that things are “not in his job description”.

Things like braces, cars, and college were things I worked hard to provide for my kids, but I guess he thinks I’ll pay for his kids to have those things.

Or he doesn’t care at all. It ruins my relationship with my daughter and my grandchildren.

I’m still working and now I resent helping them babysit and paying for extras like ballet lessons, clothes and shoes, while he plays softball.

Guess I need therapy and a fiduciary lawyer to sort out these issues. No advice?

Wretched: You could handle this better if you understood and accepted that your daughter made a series of choices. Her choice to become the martyr of a husband who looks like a selfish deadbeat may seem puzzling to you, but your role here is not to fix her life.

In fact, unless your daughter comes to you with complaints, or for advice and financial gifts or bailouts, you don’t need to intervene at all. A complete lack of pressure or (expressed) judgment or shame on your part could actually cause him to take a long look at the reality of his life.

Your daughter has already established that she can lead a household as a single parent. In fact, she looks impressive.

She has options and she can make changes if she wants her life to be different.

Don’t accept anything if you’re going to resent her and then make her “pay” in some other way.

You could offer to take the kids out for a Friday night (a very helpful gesture), but if not, let her know that unless it’s a real emergency, she’ll have to take other arrangements for child care.

Ballet lessons could make a nice gift for a special occasion – but with low unemployment, if the kids need shoes, then maybe their able-bodied dad can find a way to provide.

Set respectful and loving boundaries and focus on maintaining a positive relationship with children.

Yes, therapy (for you) will help.

dear Amy: My problem is that my daughter (who is 41) does not want to have a mammogram.

Every time I talk to her about it, she fires me and wants to change the subject. The truth is she has to take care of herself, and I’ve said that many times.

There are many aunts and his grandmother (on his father’s side) who have had breast cancer.

She also works in the health field and knows the risks of breast cancer. I don’t know how to reach her.

It really bothers me, and I don’t know what to do to convince her.

Can you please give me advice on how to help her?

upset: Your daughter has important reasons for having a mammogram — after all, she has a family history of cancer (on her father’s side).

This family history is also the reason she avoids testing.

You cannot understand the fear she feels. But she doesn’t know the incredible sense of relief she will feel when she gets a clean scanner.

It takes 10 minutes and then, boom, it’s good!

Ask her if she would like you to make an appointment for her, then take her. Emphasize the weight lifted and the relief she will feel afterwards.

dear Amy: Your response to “Do not touchwas woefully insufficient.

Her friend’s handyman husband kissed her without her consent. If it happens again, a quick kick to the groin is in order.

Real: A quick kick might be needed, but I think there are less violent ways to handle this appropriately.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by content agency Tribune.

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