Family living in squalor

My daughter and her children live in a small home with three dogs and three cats.

Dear Annie: My daughter and her children live in a small home with three dogs and three cats.

She doesn’t work, and her husband has been on disability leave for a year.

It breaks my heart to see them living in squalor and poverty. My daughter was not raised like this, and it sickens me that she is OK with her circumstances.

She and her husband have a choice, but the kids do not. We have helped (maybe too much), but it seems nothing makes a difference.

Our daughter gets defensive if we say anything. She was always so practical and used good common sense prior to marrying this guy.

She got wonderful grades in school, set goals and had dreams, but not now.

Her husband has been let go of several jobs, but it’s never his fault.

Just about every word he says is untrue. I just hate the thought of our grandchildren growing up with these values.

We love our daughter and her family and would do anything in the world for the grandchildren, but it gets harder to deal with each day. What can we do? — Worried and Disappointed Grandparents

Dear Worried: Your daughter gets to live her own life, even if it means she chooses to live in squalor. Whatever work ethic you may have instilled in her has apparently been forgotten. You cannot fix it, so say nothing more about it.

You can, however, be supportive of the grandchildren. Offer to take them for the afternoon, weekend visits, vacation trips, whatever you can manage, and let them see what a well-balanced home looks like.

Say nothing negative about her husband or her home. You might casually ask if she’d like a cleaning service as a gift because, after all, everyone could use a hand now and then. If she sees that you don’t intend it as a judgment on her housekeeping skills, she will be more receptive.

Dear Annie: With the holidays coming up, I have a decision to make, and I trust your advice.

My sister and I had a falling out last year. She thinks I wronged her in a big way. I think she made some bad choices.

In any case, she’s furious with me and we haven’t spoken for months.

The question is about holiday gifts. I’d like to send something to her and her boys, but I’m afraid it might make her angrier.

Right now, reconciliation seems unlikely, but it may be possible someday. Is there anything I can do that won’t further annoy her? — The Best Gift Would Be Peace

Dear Best: Send the gifts. And enclose a card to your sister, saying you love her and miss her. Even if she becomes angry, at least you will have done something that shows you care. Maybe it will help.

Dear Annie: This is for “Miserable in Missouri,” whose mother-in-law drops by unannounced once a month: Get a grip.

If she is the “lovely person” you say, how can her presence be such an imposition? How about showing some compassion?

Her husband died, and her son got married the same year. Good for your husband for having lunch with his mother once a week. You should be going out to dinner with her once a week.

I was not able to live close to my mother or mother-in-law. My mother has been gone almost 10 years, and my “mother-in-love” died last year.

Even a newlywed can spare a couple of hours a week for Mom. Someday you may wish you had. —Florida Friend

Dear Florida: We don’t disagree with the idea of welcoming Mom more often, but she should still not drop by unannounced, and that was a big part of the problem.

Visits are more appreciated when they aren’t inconvenient surprises.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

OTTAWA — Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey… Continue reading

Quebec announces plan to compensate taxi drivers after Uber’s arrival

MONTREAL — The Quebec government has outlined how it intends to compensate… Continue reading

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

OTTAWA — The loss of Saudi Arabian resident physicians in Canada’s hospitals… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Judge lifts publication ban, revealing details about Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Newly released documents reveal how last week’s deadly attack unfolded… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month