Originally Published: September 13, 2016 4 a.m.
Dear Annie: I’m 18, and recently I’ve been having problems with my dad.
I tried to be a mature person while growing up. I never had a particularly rebellious stage. But my dad’s temper isn’t always controllable. When I was young and things didn’t go his way, he would yell and throw things. Luckily, as I grew, his temper quelled a bit, but still when I don’t quite agree with his opinions – even if it’s just a small thing – he gets very emotional and angry. That scares me, and I just become resigned. I don’t want to argue and see no point in doing so. I’d rather agree and live as a happy family.
But this has had its costs, and I’ve grown further and further apart from my family emotionally. They don’t really know much about me, my ideas, my values or my personality, and I’m worried that I’m becoming biased when viewing them. I’ll be leaving my country and going to college soon, and I just want to change something for the better before it’s too late. – Venturing Out
Dear Venturing: When you’re a kid, you don’t have much control over your living situation, so you adapt to it. You’ve learned how to get by and cope in your household over the years. Healthy detachment has been a useful device in your emotional toolkit, as it has prevented you from absorbing all the stress of your environment. Once you leave home, you might find it easier to let that protective wall down and be candid with your family.
Before you go, try writing a letter to each of your family members to express your love and your hopes to have closer relationships with them. (A letter would be especially useful for communicating to your father, seeing as he can’t interrupt the written word.) It may not immediately erase the emotional distance, but it will offer you a sense of peace. You might also talk with the rest of your family about encouraging Dad to seek help in managing his anger. I wish you all the best.
Dear Annie: I’m curious: What are the basic rules today for throwing baby showers? It has been a rule that bridal showers are given by friends of the bride, not by her relatives. Nowhere is it clear who gives the baby shower.
Recently, I attended my very close relative’s elaborate, well-themed first baby shower. The mother-to-be has written her notes of gratitude (thank goodness).
But I have a problem. I requested many gift suggestions and bought many of them, and because I planned to be out of town when the baby arrived, I also gave a generous monetary gift. Handing it to the showered expectant mother, I clearly asked that the large amount of money be put in an educational fund to be started for the baby. In the thank-you note, she stated that the money was used for the shower.
Since when is it proper for the mother to be cajoled into paying for her own shower? I know it is a fast-paced, ever-changing world we adults are caught up in. But can you explain this to me? – Perplexed Relative
Dear Perplexed: Although it used to be considered poor form for anyone in a bride- or mother-to-be’s family to throw a shower (the reason being it might give the appearance of asking for money for your own family), it’s now socially acceptable and common. Now, one would hope a bride-to-be or expectant mother wouldn’t have to go to the trouble of throwing the shower herself, but it’s not totally unheard of or rude to do so.
As for her spending the money you gave her on the shower rather than putting it in an educational fund – well, I’m afraid it’s tough cream puffs on that front. Next time, if you want to make certain a financial gift goes toward the baby’s education, look into opening a 529 college savings account (which you could invite other guests to contribute to, too). Your financial planner can provide you with more information.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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