Dear Amy: My wife and I have a son in his mid-20s.
My wife and I took on debt of our own so he wouldn’t have to for college. We also gave him his first car. His grad school is paid for by the school/taxpayers in exchange for him being a teaching assistant.
We continue to cover small expenses, such as his car’s EZ Pass, his cellphone, car registration, etc.
My wife and I are upper-middle class people. We have both worked hard for everything we have.
Ever since the 2016 election, my son has espoused far-left viewpoints. I mean really far left, as in we must eat/kill the rich, the wealthy are the enemy of the people, etc.
I have tried to encourage him to try and see the point of view of the other side.
He states that ours is a country full of uneducated people. He seems to feel that he is a victim.
I’d like to rekindle a normal, mutually respectful, happy relationship with my son. But how?
– Concerned Dad
Dear Dad: I’m enjoying the irony that someone who takes money from his grandma to eat out could hate the rich so much.
All the same, he is an adult, and you need to react to him proportionally. So – if he calls you a Nazi, you should tell him that words matter, and that this is offensive. Ask him to explain and ask him to apologize. Demonstrate the respectful behavior you would like to see from him. (One tip: Never tell an entitled person to “be grateful.”)
Also say that you don’t want to offend him with your capitalist bounty, and so from now on he can pay for his own EZ pass and cellphone.
Tell him, “Your mother and I worry that you, who have been so fortunate, seem to feel that you are a victim. We hope you will use your passion to help make this world a better place, and that you will grow to understand how important it is to listen and respect other points of view – even if you disagree.”
Dear Amy: I have a wonderful, generous mother-in-law. Regretfully most of her gift choices are unusable (e.g., a blender, although we have a functioning one, and a suitcase, although we already have four!).
– Gift Horse
Dear Gift Horse: You could use the newer gift and donate your old one. Otherwise, say, “We love your gift, but I’m a little embarrassed because we already have one. Would you mind if we tried to exchange the one you gave us? You’re so generous – I’ll wait for your direction on what we might do.”
My daughter died too young, 15 years ago. I actually had someone say to me, “It’s been 15 years. You should be over it by now!”
I’ll never be over it.
You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: ASKAMYamydickinson.com. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.