Dear Annie: I have a loving daughter and I respect her husband very much. I have visited countless times across the country. I am 84 years old and they have two grown children.
Everyone is happy when we are together. The only problem for me is that the husband, although generous and kind, is too domineering, bordering on being a tyrant and a nut of the management of things, especially electronics.
During a recent visit to me, my daughter mentioned that he had installed cameras in several places in their house because I was there. This was supposedly so that he could see the entrances to their house from his cell phone for security purposes.
He installed them, however, so that he could both see and hear virtually everything that was going on in their home. He even called her from his office a few times to say: “Which room are you in?” I can not see you.
She is the most hardworking, honest, and kindest woman a man could expect. He is a successful and important supplier. They never had a marital conflict about cheating or anything. She has no way of knowing if her nosy gadgets are on or off.
She says it’s her thing and there’s no point fighting about it. However, it turns me off and I don’t think I will be able to visit their home again if I am watched. It is neither moral nor proper. It is an invasion of privacy.
Should I tell her about it or just stop going? He would probably be very offended, since he would be “The master of the house”. Not to see them would be devastating for me because my daughter is my closest living relative and I love her very much. We’ve never really had a fight since the day she was born. – Loving Grandpa needs advice
Dear Loving Gramps: I agree with you that all of this surveillance seems a little scary. If this is part of a larger pattern of controlling behavior, it could indicate emotional abuse. (Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 for advice.)
But unless and until your daughter comes to you with such worries, there’s not much you can do. Why not invite them over to your home rather than creating conflict in their marriage where there may not be?
Dear Annie: I have two grandsons in the military and I am very proud of them. Every Christmas, I send everyone a card and a nice check. The one I hear as soon as he opens his mail, but I can’t hear the other at all. The first year, I reminded the parents several times before receiving a very nice letter of thanks. Last year I said nothing and received no thanks. This year, I want to cut him off (to get his attention) and give him another chance next year. What advice would you give me in this situation? – Grandfather of Wisconsin
Dear Wisconsin Grandpa: You shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to teach your grandchildren to write thank you notes. This year, only do what you feel inclined to do. Maybe send a card but not a check so that he knows you think of him and that you don’t think of him resentfully afterwards.
To the grandchildren reading this, let this be a reminder of how much a simple thank you note means.
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