Dear Annie: I am a 17-year-old girl with divorced parents. My dad lives with “Heather.” She is young, has three kids and is very irritating.
Heather seems to think she has to make fun of people. Her favourite targets are my mom and my father’s family members. She’s always touching my dad and constantly picks fights with my sister and me, and sometimes Dad, too. She is always checking the numbers he calls and texts, because she is afraid he’s cheating on her.
Once, Heather told me I was no longer welcome in her house. She told my father she hates me and would appreciate it if I left him alone.
How can I tell her I don’t like it when she makes fun of the people I love, and that I’d prefer it if she’d simply ignore me rather than be all nice one minute and a wicked stepmother the next? — Confused Teenager
Dear Confused: Heather sounds a little insecure about her relationship with your father, and it’s unfortunate that you are on the receiving end. Right now, if you want to see your father, you’ll have to put up with Heather. But you should talk to Dad about how unwelcome she makes you feel, and say you’d appreciate it if he’d ask her to keep her snarky comments about the family to herself. Such remarks are inappropriate and damaging.
Dear Annie: Recently, a dear friend and neighbour passed away. The family chose to have a get-together on Thanksgiving and invited another neighbour and me. They understood that we would spend dinner with our own families and said it would be perfectly fine if we showed up afterward. They said they’d be home all evening. The family mentioned the event several times and called to be sure we were coming. They even asked permission to use my driveway for their guests.
I had Thanksgiving dinner at my son’s house. When I arrived home, there were no cars in my driveway. My neighbour said there hadn’t been any cars there all day. I phoned the family twice and got voicemail. My neighbour and I rang their doorbell in case they couldn’t hear the phone, but there was no answer. When the family returned home, my neighbour was outside and asked if they’d had a nice day. They said yes.
I am hurt and would like an explanation.
Apparently, they changed the location and didn’t inform us. I would understand if they did that or decided just to have immediate family. But a phone call telling me this would have been nice, as I left my own family dinner early. I called the family again and left a message, but still have received no response. I don’t know what to make of the situation. — Kentucky
Dear Kentucky: Let’s be charitable and assume the family changed the location and forgot to notify those who wouldn’t also be attending their Thanksgiving dinner. When they returned to hear your messages, they were too embarrassed to call back and apologize. We hope you can forgive them. When there is a death in the family, people can sometimes be unintentionally inconsiderate.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Need School Assistance,” whose second-grader was molested by a disruptive boy at his school.
As a retired school social worker, all my red flags went up when I read this. “Boyd’s” behaviours are indicators of possible sexual abuse in his own home. For this young child to be suspended twice in a single semester perhaps to spend more time in a potentially abusive environment is heartbreaking. You said you hoped the school had called child welfare services to look into his home life, and I would say a call is certainly in order. — Concerned in the Midwest