DEAR ABBY: After 12 years on the West Coast, my husband and I moved back East last year with our 3-year-old son, "Adam." My parents, my husband's mom and our siblings live here, and we wanted Adam to know his family.
The problem is, our son has taken to everyone except my mother. He'll hug and kiss everyone but her. He kisses the others in front of her, but crosses his arms over his chest and says, "No!" or runs away if he's asked to kiss her.
At first, Mom said it was OK because Adam needed time to adjust to her. But it has been a year, and he has barely given her two pecks. She says Adam doesn't like her. But he plays with her and has fun with her. Mom is now hinting that I need to teach him to "respect" her. She has referred to him as a "little brat" to others (in front of me) when he refused to be affectionate. I think she's being childish.
I can't force my son to be affectionate with Grandma, and if I continue to press it, he may never be. What can I do to make Mom feel better? –- ADAM'S MOMMY
DEAR MOMMY: The subject of showing affection to Granny should be dropped. The harder you push your son, the more resistant he will become. Nor should your child be told to kiss anyone else. ("Kiss Auntie Abby! Kiss Uncle Walter!") Yech.
You say Adam enjoys playing and having fun with his grandmother. Has it occurred to you that he has turned his refusal to demonstrate affection to her into another game? Don't push. Let it happen. And please tell your mother not to let a 3-year-old ruin her day. He may be acting like a brat, but she's the grown-up, and she should be able to rise above it.
DEAR ABBY: I have fallen in love with "Chris," an amazingly thoughtful, supportive, caring man. We have been dating for seven months. We have many values and interests in common, such as religion, social justice and the great outdoors. However, Chris is visually impaired.
Chris can't drive and has trouble reading regular type or street signs. My parents, whose opinion I respect, are against the relationship because of Chris' genetic disability and his race.
Should I continue this relationship? I know real love is a rare gift, yet I worry that I may be setting myself up for problems in the future. I'm afraid I may end up resenting Chris for what he can't do, and my parents for not accepting him. I would greatly appreciate some advice. Should love be blind? –- INDECISIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR INDECISIVE: Although love is often blind, couples are better off if they go into relationships with their eyes wide open.
People with disabilities often have abilities that enable them to contribute meaningfully to the community, as well as to their families. Do they have obstacles? Certainly. Can they be accommodated? Usually.
You have serious decisions to make about your future. Your parents' unwillingness to accept Chris because of his race will cause a serious rift if you proceed. Is your love for him strong enough to marry him anyway? If the answer is yes, then you and Chris should consult a geneticist to see what the odds are of your children inheriting his disability should you decide to have any.
You are asking all the right questions. However, some of the answers will have to come from within.
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