DEAR ABBY: I was wondering what the rule of etiquette is when it comes to unwanted children’s gifts. It’s one thing if my husband and I receive gifts we don’t want and get rid of them, but I’m not sure what to do with gifts for our kids.
We live in a small apartment and sometimes get large-ticket items we don’t have room for. We’ve asked our family to keep the items small, but some of them ignore our request. A few times we’ve sold the items and put the money into our child’s bank account. But we aren’t sure that is the best way.
Also, what do we do when family sends our children stuff we don’t want them to have? Some may be inappropriate, broken or junk.
My in-laws have little to no interaction with our kids, and this is the only way they’ve chosen to make their presence known. We are reluctant to discard the only attention our kids get from their grandparents. What is the right thing to do? — NO MORE GIFTS IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR NO MORE GIFTS: Because you have made your wishes known to the grandparents and they are ignored, you and your children should thank them for their gifts — and you should continue repurposing items that are too large for your dwelling or unusable. Do not feel guilty for doing so because someone else may be better able to put them to use.
DEAR ABBY: My parents were separated for four years while I was in high school and college. It was an incredibly difficult time, and it strained my relationship with my dad. I was told they had “grown apart” but got back together, although we never discuss the reason for it.
I was out with my sister’s friends last night, and one of them got drunk and told me the reason my parents split up was Dad had been seeing another woman and accidentally texted my sister instead of this other woman, and everyone in my family knew about it!
Dad and I barely saw each other or spoke about the separation, and we are finally in a good place. I’m hurt that he intentionally did something that broke up my family. It wasn’t something that just happened because they drifted apart.
I don’t want to ask my sister and bring up painful memories for her. My parents have never talked about their separation since they got back together. What should I do? — MIXED-UP DAUGHTER IN WISCONSIN
DEAR DAUGHTER: When infidelity happens there is usually a reason, and those reasons can vary from couple to couple. It’s possible that your parents, who understandably don’t want to relive that painful chapter, were having problems before the affair began. What is important now is that your family is back together.
My advice is to allow them their privacy. However, if you feel you cannot do that, then tell them TOGETHER what your sister’s friend told you.
DEAR ABBY: I recently played both sides during a sticky and challenging time. Now I have a friend who is really upset with me, and I don’t know what to do. I thought I was doing the right thing, but in my effort to not hurt my friend, I have done more damage. I’m not sure this can be repaired. What should I do? — MESSED UP IN MINNEAPOLIS
DEAR MESSED UP: Apologize to your friend. And if the friendship cannot be repaired, LEARN from it.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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