DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married almost four years. He has two children in middle school from his first marriage who live not far away. He and his ex-wife are on friendly terms, but I am having some problems with their relationship.
Whenever there is a special occasion, like birthdays, Father's Day, etc., my husband's ex-wife buys gifts for him from the children. I think it is my place to see that he has gifts from his children. Am I wrong?
My other concern is that when the children are at our home and their mother comes to pick them up, she always comes into the house. I work irregular shifts so I am seldom there when she comes over. I don't want her in my home with my husband when I am not there. Am I wrong about this, too? My husband says I'm wrong on both counts. -- NO GIFTS, PLEASE IN HUDSON, N.C.
DEAR NO GIFTS: Setting a good example and creating an atmosphere of civility are more important than your feelings of insecurity.
It is the mother's responsibility to teach the children about gift-giving. Be thankful she is setting a tone of generosity and encouraging the children to acknowledge their father on special occasions. The right thing for your husband (and you) to do would be to see that the gift-giving is reciprocal on her birthday and Mother's Day.
However, since your husband's ex-wife's presence in your home when you are absent makes you uncomfortable, your husband should respect your feelings and ask the children to meet their mother out in front of the house when she picks them up.