DEAR AMY: I am the mother of three children, ages 3, 7 and 9. My father (their grandfather) is involved in their lives, and he and his wife often take one of them for the weekend.
When my children are returned, typically they have not eaten anything but snacks and candy, they have uncombed hair and other indications of disarray.
For example, my 3-year-old son spent the night at their house. He came home the next day wearing a diaper (he is potty-trained but he wears a diaper at night), and when I asked about it, I was told that they had not bothered to take it off in the morning. He had slept in his clothes, which were filthy.
I understand and support the notion that the rules should be relaxed when hanging out with grandparents, but it bothers me when my children come home in this condition.
When I have voiced my concerns, my father responds that I am "nagging" him about trivial things and not being appreciative.
I am grateful he is so active in my children's lives, but is it too much to ask that he feeds them reasonably well, changes their clothes and puts them to bed in their pajamas? This is just basic caretaking, right?
DEAR OVERCONCERNED: Your standards seem reasonable.
So why are you consigning your children to spend nights in this household where they are lying in their own filth?
Grandparents enjoy indulging their grandchildren with junk food, ballgames, occasional late nights or missed naps. But what you report is neglect, and because you are aware of it you are as responsible as your father is when you let your kids spend the night there.
You should make sure he and his wife are able to take care of these children. They should not have overnights there unless the adults can show basic ability to feed, bathe and clothe them. If this makes you a "nag," then wear the badge proudly.
DEAR AMY: I have been in a relationship for more than a year, and we are both in our mid-30s.
I consider myself open-minded and compassionate, while he is bigoted. I like to save money, but he is frivolous. He craves adventure and lacks focus; I want security.
To top it off, I think he is an alcoholic. While I may be willing to subject myself to that journey, as a child of an alcoholic, I feel it would be selfish to bring a child into a potentially volatile environment.
There are positives to the relationship. We love one another.
I don't think it's too much to ask for someone to work on being a kinder, mature adult. He's not budging. What's your take?
DEAR UNSURE: My take is that you need to get out. You may love this man, but you don't seem to like or respect him enough to make a loving life together. Furthermore, the thought that you would be willing to (in your words) "subject yourself" to the "journey" of an alcoholic sends shivers up my spine.
As the daughter of an alcoholic, you need to make different choices. So start now.
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