Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: This is a reply to "Dilemma in N.Y.," whose ex-husband complained that his child-support money is not being spent on his two sons. The law states that the mother must give an accounting to the father on how his child-support money is spent. This is reasonable and makes a good story, but that's as far as it goes. The truth is, she can do what she pleases with the money.
"Dilemma" says she doesn't "go out partying or dress to the nines." Why should she? It's not her money. That money is to support the child and nothing else. She should be ashamed to admit she buys macaroni and cheese by the case. It is not adequate nourishment for a child. As for money for school dances, costumes and so on, if Mom chooses to have these extras, then Mom should pay for them. They are not necessities. I didn't have them when I was young, and I grew up just fine.
I am not an angry ex-husband. I am a 71-year-old woman. Please print this letter. "Dilemma" needs to see the other side. — Grandma in Crown Point, Ind.
Dear Grandma: "Divorced Mom" buys macaroni and cheese because that's what she can afford — and it does indeed provide nourishment. As for the costumes and school dances, Mom doesn't want her kids to be left out. She wants them to enjoy the normal activities that other kids do, and she should be commended. I'm on her side.
Dear Ann Landers: I am responding to "Unable to Cope in Indiana," whose husband gets angry and blows his top over trivial things. I had the same problem with my husband when our children were growing up. Here's how I handled it:
When "Ed" started to pick on the kids, I knew he was stressed out, so I waited until they were in bed, and then I'd kiss him and tell him what a great husband and father he was, and how much I appreciated all the things he did for me and the children. My words of praise changed him from a growling bear to a pussycat. It worked for me, and I'm sure it will work for "Indiana," too. She ought to try it. — Been There in Hemet, Calif.
Dear Hemet: You have learned that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Smart mama. Thanks for the short course on human relations. Have you considered serving as a negotiator for the United Nations?
Planning a wedding? What's right? What's wrong? "The Ann Landers Guide for Brides" will relieve your anxiety. To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.