Dear Abby: Man tells parents they are obliged to help pay for his children’s education

Contributing to their grandchildren would strain the finances of the middle-class couple.

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DEAR ABBY: What financial responsibility do parents have to their adult children and grandchildren? We are a blended family of 35 years. It is the second marriage for my wife and me, with four children and eight grandchildren.

One child insists it is our responsibility to assist with the cost of educating his two children. Over the last 15 years, we have gifted him and his family well over $50,000. We are middle income, and trying to stay solvent enough to assure we are able to meet any unforeseen expenses of senior living while enjoying local arts and educational opportunities in our retirement. What is customary in other blended families? — WONDERING IN THE SOUTH

DEAR WONDERING: Your son is off base, and you have every right to refuse this demand. The cost of raising and educating children is something that should have been taken into consideration before those children were born. This responsibility rests with him and his spouse, not with you, and I hope you will resist the impulse to alter your lifestyle to placate him. If you do otherwise, you may wind up in financial trouble.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and his sister had a huge falling out several months ago. It was a long time coming, and resulted in the two of them no longer speaking.

This week, we received an invitation from my sister-in-law for a family celebration. It was followed by an email to my husband saying that if he wants to come to the event, he first needs to “make it right by her and her family” and apologize for his behavior.

My husband doesn’t feel he did anything wrong and doesn’t particularly want to go. He is now feeling manipulated to acquiesce because refusing an invitation to a family event will upset his mother. What should he do? — WATCHING FROM THE SIDELINES

DEAR WATCHING: Your husband is right. His sister is attempting to manipulate him. He should call or visit his mother, explain the entire situation to her, and warn her in advance that he won’t be going.

DEAR ABBY: What advice can you give me to get my ex-girlfriend back after I hurt her and broke her trust? It has been four months, and I have given her space and tried to improve myself. We work together, so seeing her every day and not talking to her is hard. I would like to fix things between us, but she’s very stubborn. We talked every day and every minute of the day, and I lost my best friend and my partner whom I love so much. — HER FORMER GIRLFRIEND IN KENTUCKY

DEAR FORMER G.F.: You obviously hurt your partner deeply when you broke her trust. If you haven’t already told her how sorry you are and that you love her, you should. Then ask what you can do to rebuild her trust. If she still refuses to communicate after that, you may have to accept that the damage done to your relationship is not reparable and start looking for another job.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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