Annie's Mailbox: What do you do if you see a parent cheat?

Dear Annie: Three years ago, our 7-year-old granddaughter saw her mother kissing another man and told her father (our son). My question is: Was she right to tell him, or should she have spoken to her mother first?

This granddaughter’s actions created a situation in her family that no child should have to endure. She still feels guilty for exposing her mother’s affair. When she told our son, he did not react appropriately and lashed out at the child, as well as his wife. The family is still together, but my granddaughter suffers from stress and anxiety whenever our son reacts to the situation, which he still does on occasion.

So, Annie, what would have been the best thing for this child to do when she caught her mother cheating?

— Concerned Grandparent

Dear Grandparent: There is no “right” answer. The child was too young to do anything other than what she did, and your son was too blindsided to react in a way that would have been less damaging. However, since Dad is still unable to control himself in front of his daughter and she is suffering, please urge the entire family to get into counseling. He should ask the pediatrician for a referral to someone who can specifically help his child. It’s long past time.

Dear Annie: I recently began working with my cousin. He runs a small music studio and is training me to do the work. This is truly what I want to do with my life.

The problem is, he doesn’t tell me whether or not he’s going to work on any given day. I’m left dressed and ready with no place to go. He also says he has no reason to go to work some days because he’ll have nothing to do — not thinking that I would like to train during his downtime.

I don’t know whether he treats me this way because he doesn’t take me seriously or because we’re related and he doesn’t feel the need to treat me like the rest of his employees. How do I tell him I feel mistreated?

— B.B.

Dear B.B.: Your cousin may treat you this way because it’s the nature of the job. Instead of talking about mistreatment, discuss your job training, hours and obligations. Ask him how many hours per week he expects you to be at work and if he will please let you know ahead of time when he doesn’t plan to go in.

Ask if he wants you to be at work whether he’s there or not. See if you can get him to commit to a basic schedule. Tell him you’d appreciate as many hours of training as he can spare, since you value his expertise and want to learn from the best.

Dear Annie: This is in response to “Kentucky,” who didn’t know what to do with her mother’s custom-made vintage wedding dress that she also wore. She assumed no future daughter-in-law would want it since her marriage ended in divorce.

May I suggest that she donate it to the local area museum or historical society in her mother’s memory? I am on our local museum board, and we have some beautiful old wedding dresses. If “Kentucky” doesn’t want to donate it outright, she could give it to the museum on loan. This way, she can take her grandchildren there and show them the dress.

I donated my husband’s service uniform to the museum, and my children used to say they could go visit their dad there.

—Minnesota

Dear Minnesota: We have received many wonderful suggestions about what to do with “Kentucky’s” wedding gown and will print a few in future columns.

Our thanks to all the readers who provided such helpful ideas.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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