Dear Annie: My older sister, “Daisy,” and I have always had a relationship full of conflict. She is hard-headed and stubborn.
My mom and stepdad recently left me in charge of the house while they were out of town for a month. Daisy no longer lives here.
She was never allowed to have boys in her room, yet the first night my parents were gone, Daisy called and informed me that she would be staying overnight and bringing her beau. When I told her I didn’t like this, she said she only feels comfortable in the house when our stepfather isn’t around (he’s relatively new to the family) and then accused me of “being on their side.” She’s been here several times during the month and has been completely disrespectful instead of appreciative that I’m doing her a favour by letting her come over.
Annie, I hate how my sister splits the family apart. It’s been like this ever since my father died. I want to talk to my mom about it when she gets back, but I’m not sure if I should get in the middle of Daisy’s problems, and if so, do I leave out the part about her staying here with her boyfriend? — Butting Heads in Ohio
Dear Ohio: It’s always OK to talk to your mother about your feelings. As for the house-sitting, if you knew Mom would not approve of Daisy staying in the house with her boyfriend, you should have told Daisy “no.” We understand how difficult it can be when your sister doesn’t respect your authority, and there is nothing wrong with telling Mom what happened while she was away. If she plans another vacation, ask her how she wants you to handle the situation with Daisy.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Louisville,” who was offended by her child-free married friend who states that she feels lucky not to have kids whenever she hears about problems others are having with their children.
I am a child-free person who understands where the friend is coming from, although I also remember my mother saying how lucky she felt to have my sister and me when she heard about someone else’s children getting into trouble.
Louisville’s friend may not be trying to reassure herself that she made the right decision not to have children (an idea I find somewhat offensive because it implies that anyone who chooses not to have children regrets it or must justify it). She may simply be grateful not to have those complications in her life. Of course, if she states it too often, I agree someone should speak up, as it can get annoying. But “Louisville” sounds a bit oversensitive and might consider why she is so offended. — Hobart, Ind.
Dear Hobart: You seem to be reading a great deal into this. We don’t believe “Louisville” is oversensitive. Any comment repeated ad nauseam is irritating.
Any comment that implicitly criticizes you can be offensive. If someone does this repeatedly, we have to wonder why.