Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our 70s, and he is experiencing depression from lack of contact with his children. I don't mean Facebook, because he sees them on there. They do not call like they did in the past. I am sure they feel that since he can actually see them on the screen, he knows what they are up to and what they are doing. Thus, they think this is all we need to do.
We do not text either. We used to FaceTime but not anymore. When he calls them, usually he can only leave a message because they rarely answer the phone. If he does get hold of them, the typical response is that they are busy but they will call back, and then they almost never do. We do not live in the same state, so we don't see them often.
New technology is wonderful for many things, but whatever happened to actually hearing someone say, "I love you, Dad," or "I love you, Grandpa"? I am sure we are not the only people who are feeling left behind with the new tech world. -- Hope to Hear One Day
Dear Hope: It is understandable that your husband's feeling disconnected from his children is causing sadness. But I am not so sure that it is technology's fault so much as the fault of miscommunication. Technology is a blessing and a curse -- a blessing because it makes communication instant and easy, and a curse because it throws up a barrier to interactions that only come from being together in person. I would encourage you and your husband to plan a trip to visit his children face to face and talk to them. Tell them how much you enjoy talking on the phone and hearing their voices. Communicating via text and social media is no way to maintain a relationship, especially an important and special one with wonderful parents.
Dear Annie: I have a daughter who is a lovely person but has become very bossy and super opinionated. She has not always been this way. She is married, but she and my son-in-law have no children.
My problem is that every time she comes home, she rearranges the items in my pantry and refrigerator and throws things away. She's very critical. So far as I know, she doesn't treat others this way. And my other children do not act this way with me. What do you think is motivating this, and what do you suggest I do? -- Miffed Mom
Dear Miffed Mom: I'd be willing to wager that your daughter is checking for expired foods and getting rid of them out of concern for you. Even so, there's no need for the criticism, and she really should ask your permission before throwing anything away. Talk to her about how this makes you feel. Acknowledge that you appreciate her desire to help but you don't appreciate the way in which she conducts these pantry purges. Set some boundaries you can live with. In the end, it is your house, your rules. Your daughter should respect that.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.