November 7, 2013 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: Ask son to send text when he leaves town

Kathy Mitchell

Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our 80s. We have three wonderful kids, all married, who live nearby. We have always been close.

The problem is, one son thinks I am trying to control him. He never tells us when he is planning to go out of town. If we can’t reach him for days, we worry. He rarely answers his cellphone on vacation, and when he does pick up, he gets angry.

We believe, out of respect for us, he should give us a quick call letting us know where they are headed and when they arrive so we won’t worry. It’s not like we would call them on their vacation. I am certain that his wife, whom we also love, texts or uses Facebook to let her family know where they are.

Are we unreasonable? He rarely calls us even when he is in town. We see him once every two weeks when he stops by for a few minutes. We don’t require any assistance from him, financial or otherwise. I know he reads your column faithfully, so we would greatly value your opinion. – Concerned Mother

Dear Mother: Some children understand a parent’s fears and will call regularly, not only so Mom and Dad don’t worry, but also to check and make sure the parents are OK. But not all kids think this way. Your son interprets this as “controlling,” although that is not the intent. He otherwise seems to be a good son, so please try to compromise.

Some people avoid phone calls because they require an actual conversation. Perhaps he or his wife would be willing to send a group text or email to both sides of the family, including you or one of your other children, who could then let you know he’s out of town. Ask whether this would work better for him. (Facebook is not a good way to do this – strangers can learn that your house is unoccupied.)

Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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