Dear Margo

Teen granddaughter has an older beau

July 27, 2011

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Q. My granddaughter, “Tammi,’’ graduated high school at the end of May. She has been working at a pet store since last fall. This was her first real job, and she was both elated and proud.

When I visited over the Christmas holidays, she took me to the store to meet her boss and the other teen employees. Tammi told me the boss had discussed the store’s finances with her, that he didn’t love his wife any longer, that he was getting a divorce, and on and on. I told her this is not something a 34-year-old employer would be sharing with an 18-year-old female employee unless he had an ulterior motive.

The day after her 19th birthday, Tammi left home and moved in with her boss, who is now divorced and shares custody of his 4-year-old child. She is absolutely enthralled with this guy, who is four years younger than her father. Our family is just sick over this. We’ve all tried talking to her, but she won’t listen. She said we should lighten up and that her friends are all OK with it, but her best friend says this fellow is mean to Tammi.

My granddaughter says she’s an adult and can do whatever she wants. How can we make her realize this is a huge mistake?


A. Tammi is right: She is an adult - and can make as many lousy decisions as she wants. Often, kids are attracted to what seems most outrageous to their families. Perhaps if you stop fighting her, Tammi will have less to rebel against. Welcome this man into your family as best you can, and let Tammi see him in context. She may decide he’s not so outrageous after all. Or you might decide he’s not as terrible a choice as you originally feared.

Q. Our son divorced after almost 21 years of marriage. He has since become engaged and is planning to marry next year. When his fiancee, “Mary,’’ asked us to remove our son’s wedding photo from the wall, we did so. The problem is, she now wants us to remove all photographs that include our former daughter-in-law, including ones with the grandchildren and other family members.

Annie, there are memories that go along with these photos. We replaced all the photographs that included our son with his ex-wife, but we left the others. What is the proper thing to do?


A. While you are under no obligation to remove any photos from your home, we also know that you don’t want to create a rift with your son and his new bride. We suggest you take the contentious pictures and place them in your bedroom or in storage, or transfer them to a CD.

Q. I read the letter from “Married to Edward Scissorfeet,’’ who flails in his sleep and tears the sheets with his toenails.

I’m a Vietnam vet who, in recent years, had become more and more violent at night. After kicking my wife a couple of times, punching the walls and waking up on my knees swinging at ghosts standing by the bed, I saw a doctor who prescribed an anti-anxiety medication. I haven’t had any violent episodes since.


Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.