Dear Annie: My parents treat our oldest son with extreme favoritism. I’ve asked them not to do this, and they have apologized in the past, but they soon ignore us and are back to the same old tricks. I became suspicious when our son, who is still attending college, was buying extravagant gifts for his girlfriend and splurging on “la vida loca,” and we wondered where the money was coming from. Granny and Grandpa have been secretly giving him thousands of dollars.
Mom and Dad know we are working very hard to treat all our children equally. There is no excuse for the extra strain this is causing within the family. We teach our children to be honest and open, while their grandparents are teaching them to keep secrets from us.
Nothing justifies this behavior. I want them to think about the long-term damage this dishonesty and favoritism have on the other grandchildren who are not as privileged as “the favorite” – and they always find out eventually.
What can I do? – Baffled By Their Betrayal
Dear Baffled: Not much. It’s their money. But their behavior will take its toll. The other grandchildren will be less affectionate toward your parents, and your older boy is likely to become incapable of managing his own money as long as Granny and Grandpa keep funding his lifestyle.
Don’t ask your parents to treat all the grandchildren the same. They are not going to do it. Instead, make it clear that they are hurting your older son enormously by making him irresponsible, and that the other grandchildren will find it difficult to forgive the favoritism. They need to see this is not love. It’s selfishness.
Dear Annie: I am an 18-year-old college student. For years, I’ve suffered from incredibly bad premenstrual syndrome.
I’ve been on the pill, which regulated my menstrual cycle but did nothing to reduce my PMS. My doctor tested me for hyperthyroidism, but my thyroid seems to be normal. My almost constant PMS is starting to interfere with my life. Any suggestions? – Getting Cranky
Dear Cranky: You may have what is known as polymenorrhea. Ask your ob-gyn for a very thorough checkup to be sure the frequent menstruation is not caused by anything worrisome. (You also should be tested for anemia.)
Some women have found relief from PMS through regular exercise and decreased caffeine consumption, among other possibilities. There are also medications that decrease the number of periods you have in a year, and you might discuss that option with your doctor.