This has caused me a lot of pain and confusion. I find it very hard to reconcile this person’s behavior with the person I know, but I can clearly see that my son has been traumatized. We have a small extended family and he’s an only child, so I truly wish there could be reconciliation.
Is it wrong of me to want him to forgive this family member and have some semblance of a relationship going forward? How should my son go about it?
Mother: You should not ask me how your son should forgive this family member who propositioned him. Forgiveness cannot be forced through the pressure of a third party. Furthermore, this family member has not explained, acknowledged or apologized for this incident; in fact, he is aggressively denying it.
Sexual aggressors rarely own up to their behavior or acknowledge the devastating effects on others. This defiance and denial does not lay the groundwork toward forgiveness and reconciliation. I think you should examine your own motives for basically wanting this to go away. You say your son is clearly traumatized. You seem to believe his account of what happened. And yet you also seem eager to use the concept of forgiveness to sweep this episode under the rug, mainly to ease your own discomfort.
Your son doesn’t seem to be asking you to cut all ties with this family member, but his trauma might be more manageable if he knows that his mother is in his corner, and not expecting him to do something that right now might seem impossible. Take your son’s anguish seriously, and urge him to seek professional therapeutic help to process this disturbing episode.
Dear Amy: My father passed away several years ago, leaving his house to my sister and me. Because she wanted to live in the house, we agreed that she would eventually buy out my half. (She couldn’t afford to do this at the time.)
Now it is eight years later, and she is still living in the house. Whenever I bring up the subject, I get a “deer in the headlights” look, and I feel as if she will cry, so I let it drop. Now that my husband and I want to retire, I will need my half of this inheritance. My father’s lawyer has passed away, and I don’t have a lawyer. If I do in fact have to take some type of legal action, I wouldn’t know where to start.
— Ready for the Next Chapter
Ready: If your sister couldn’t afford to buy you out of this property eight years ago, have her circumstances changed significantly now? You should assume not, which is why she doesn’t want to discuss it. Your first step should be to find a new attorney to advise you about the terms of this estate and your options. You must have competent legal advice.
Your own fears about upsetting your sister have kept both of you somewhat trapped. She probably lives with her own fear of displacement hanging over her head. You simply must be brave enough to face this. Think of this as a problem you two will solve together. If she becomes upset, stay calm, hang in there with her and keep the door open.
Dear Amy: “Want the Best” described wanting to home-school their child because of “the state of the school system in the United States.”
I hope these parents do home-school their child. The last thing schoolteachers need is another parent who is afraid that the teachers are not smart enough or qualified enough to teach their child!
Parent: Home schooling is demanding. It IS teaching. These parents had a knee-jerk reaction to public education, without seeming to have done a shred of research — either about their local school or home schooling.
I agree that the child definitely deserves better.
© 2023 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.