Dear Annie: My grandchildren are not allowed to receive gifts from me. I crocheted a scarf, and it was tossed in a dumpster. I bought earrings, and the post was broken. You get the picture. So, I have been putting money in the bank instead. Problem solved? No!
Now when a passbook indicates that my grandchild has $7,000 in the bank, there is a sarcastic comment that it won't even be enough to buy a book in college. I ignore the statements because I know where they come from, and there is no reason for me to upset my son. Problem solved? No.
Now, I understand that the problem is that he feels ignored in my company. It's not that we don't speak to one another. We do. I think that the attention-getting tactics are frustrating for my son because they no longer warrant a reaction from me. They're predicable after so many years. Why bother addressing such behavior? It only reenforces it. — Hurt Grandma
Dear Hurt: You keep addressing the problem behavior because it is just that — a problem behavior. Without tackling it head-on, it will continue to be a problem. Being so rude, dismissive and ungrateful as your son sounds can't make him feel good about himself. The way he is speaking to you, or how he treats your gifts, is unacceptable. If he can't stop making rude comments about your gifts, then you might stop your generosity. But if you do that, the ones who would be hurt are your grandchildren.
Try to have a serious and noncritical conversation with your son, and make sure that your attention is focused solely on him. He might open up. If he remains cold and hostile, then encourage him to seek professional help or offer to go to family counseling. If he refuses to go, seek therapy yourself as a way to sort out what's really going on between you and your son.
Dear Annie: I am 60 and share an office with a 20-something. Both of us are women. She is an assistant director of the department we work in, which means she is in upper management. She used to ask my advice but usually chose not to take it, so I stopped responding to her questions and instead referred her to the director of our department. I'm trying to set the scene for you.
The problem is that she burps and belches often. She says, "Excuse me." I've stopped responding. I have tried to tell her it's not acceptable to burp like that at work. She said it's her office, which I understand. I asked if she has some sort of problem with her stomach. She said no.
Is it me? I was raised to believe that such things as burping are kind of rude and not good office etiquette. Are younger kids not taught this?
The option of getting a different office is not feasible. Is my only option just to accept? — More Room on the Outside Than Inside
Dear More Room on the Outside: Most people would find this behavior disgusting. Hopefully, for the sake of society, younger kids are taught that burping or passing gas should be done in the bathroom, and they should excuse yourself. Just because she says "excuse me" makes it no less gross. One time, fine, maybe even two, but belching often is unprofessional. Is it possible that she is doing this to get on your nerves — a passive-aggressive move of using her bodily functions to bully you?
Go to your supervisor and say enough is enough. Either she stops belching, or you move offices. No one should have to work in a toxic environment.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]
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