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by Abigail Van Buren

Well-Meaning Grandmother Is Criticized for Helping Too Much

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are not on the same page about helping with the grandkids. We moved here six years ago to be closer to my daughter, her husband and their two daughters. The older one is 9, and the younger is 6.

Although the 6-year-old has multiple physical challenges and developmental delays, our son-in-law thinks "we" babysit far too often. My intention is to help my daughter with the challenges that a special needs child presents to the family. Mostly, I am the one providing the care; my husband does the minimum.

Every time I agree to watch the children, I feel huge stress because I know my son-in-law will complain about it. It's tearing me apart. Thank you for listening. Just writing this helps. -- HELPING IN THE EAST

DEAR HELPING: I agree that parenting a child with special needs is challenging. You are a loving, caring mother and grandmother, but this is something your daughter and her husband have to reach a meeting of the minds about. The last thing she needs is dissension in her household. Counseling for them might help your son-in-law understand that your daughter's health might be compromised if she does everything herself. Some sort of compromise about your level of involvement could be key.

As to your husband, I'm not sure what more you think he should be doing. He agreed to move closer to your daughter so you could help her. It has to have been disruptive for him. Please give him points for that, because I do.

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