DEAR ABBY: Over the years I have come to realize that my father-in-law is condescending toward women. He expects his wife will do all the cooking, cleaning and housework despite the fact that she has a demanding, full-time job and he doesn't work outside the home.
When we go to dinner over there, it is expected that the women will clean up and do the dishes while the men sit and talk at the table. I have never seen him lift a finger to help, and he frequently makes demeaning comments about his wife's cooking, among other things. He considers himself an expert on everything and frequently interrupts people (mostly women) to prove he "knows better." His behavior is rude and I am offended by it.
I am pregnant with my first child -- a daughter -- and I'm concerned about her growing up in this atmosphere. I don't want her raised thinking that men know better than women and that women are supposed to wait on men. My husband doesn't want to confront his father over this. How do we handle the situation? -- FIRST-CLASS CITIZEN IN FLORIDA
DEAR FIRST-CLASS: It appears your husband is as cowed by his father as your mother-in-law is or this wouldn't be happening. He could have put a stop to it years ago by simply getting up from the table and helping you and his mom clear the dishes while Dad kept himself company.
If you prefer your little girl not grow up in an atmosphere like this, see less of your in-laws. Be sure to tell your MIL why. And if you "must" subject your daughter to her grandfather's presence, point out to her that "Gramps" acts this way because his thinking is outdated. Explain that it is his attempt to make himself feel important, even if he isn't.