Sunday, July 22, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Man tries to reunite dad and little brother

Q: About 10 years ago, when I was 16, my father left my mother for a much younger woman and moved away with her.

My sister, "Beth," was 12 and my brother, "Ben," was barely 4. The girlfriend didn't want to deal with a little kid, so Ben didn't go with us on visits to Dad. They never really got to know one another.

Recently, Dad broke up with his girlfriend and moved back to our area. He is very contrite and wants to establish stronger ties with us kids. Beth and I are giving him a chance but Ben wants no part of him, even though Dad is still paying child support for him.

I'm trying to talk Ben into seeing our dad but he says I'm the only "father" he has ever needed.

The thing is, I'd be very glad to give up that role and just be Ben's brother.

I feel like he's making a huge mistake. Ben is stubborn and Dad is really hurt by his rejection. How can I bring these two together?

Just Want to Be Big Brother

A: First, let me say what I hope your parents have said themselves: I'm sorry you were thrown into this position at such a young age; I'm impressed by how you've dealt with it.

Your role doesn't extend to reuniting your brother and father, though. They have to work this out (or not) for themselves.

Certainly you can suggest he keep an open mind, but also recognize Ben's stubbornness as a sign you need to do less pushing, more listening; people dig in hardest when they feel they aren't being heard.

Bringing Ben wouldn't mean it is/was/ever will be your job to be Ben's "father." His relationship with his dad is independent of his with you; even if they reconcile, you don't get reassigned. You and Ben define and maintain your own relationship as it suits you best.

So you can just be Ben's brother because that's what you are. When Ben says you're the only "father" he needs, in fact, tell him how much you appreciate his saying thatand also say plainly that you're his brother and always will be. Happily. Proudly.

Comments
In the few weeks before school starts, experts offer tips on getting ready mentally and physically

In the few weeks before school starts, experts offer tips on getting ready mentally and physically

By the second week of August, public schools will be back in session across the Tampa Bay area. That may seem far off, but sleep experts say now is when parents need to start easing the kids (and themselves) into those early wakeup routines. The foll...
Published: 07/20/18
Deep-fried wonders at Plant City Strawberry Festival to be featured on Cooking Channel

Deep-fried wonders at Plant City Strawberry Festival to be featured on Cooking Channel

The strawberry-laden and deep-fried wonders of Plant City’s Florida Strawberry Festival will be featured on two episodes of the TV series Carnival Eats, the first on July 29.The Cooking Channel series features host Noah Cappe as he marvels at the "ga...
Published: 07/19/18

Tell Me About It: Family put off by another big wedding

Q: I’m engaged to a wonderful man, "Jim," and we’re planning our wedding. We just booked a gorgeous inn and I am going to wear a stunning full-length white dress. We’ll also be having a sit-down dinner with band and dancing for the reception.I’m in m...
Published: 07/18/18
First look (with video): Universal’s new high-tech fountain shows ends the night at the theme park

First look (with video): Universal’s new high-tech fountain shows ends the night at the theme park

Visitors to Universal Studios in Orlando on Monday night got to witness the premiere of the new high-tech, dancing-fountain, cinematic show to end the day in the park in what the show’s creator called "a kiss goodnight." It’s full of ima...
Published: 07/17/18

Tell Me About It: Stepmom expects gift will become an issue

Q: My husband’s daughter just announced she and her boyfriend are getting married, and we are very happy for them. They are planning a wedding that we consider over the top. The cost will likely exceed her annual salary.My husband has been blunt abou...
Published: 07/17/18

Tell Me About It: The grieving process differs for everyone

Q: My parents died in an accident a year and a half ago. I grieve for them every day and still find it difficult to talk about them without tears. I see a grief counselor and have been screened by my doctor for depression, and both said what I was fe...
Published: 07/16/18

Tell Me About It: Wife’s beefs with family are indefensible

Q: My wife occasionally picks fights with members of my family of origin, especially my sister. What am I supposed to do about that? The general guidance is that protecting my spouse from my family of origin is my responsibility, but it was my wife t...
Published: 07/15/18
Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus talks longevity, the road and picking the perfect opener

Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus talks longevity, the road and picking the perfect opener

There was a time, believe it or not, when Rascal Flatts was considered cutting-edge country. Okay, "cutting-edge" might be pushing it — the trio’s wholesome, harmony-laden style was never all that controversial. Still, when you survey the pop- and R&...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/18/18
8 things to do this weekend: Sam Smith, SharkCon, Extreme Mud Wars, deal at Chihuly

8 things to do this weekend: Sam Smith, SharkCon, Extreme Mud Wars, deal at Chihuly

Concert Sam Smith and Cam: On Friday, Sam Smith (Stay With Me) is coming to Tampa with opening act Cam, whose latest country single Diane is one of Nashville’s most rollicking of the past year. Smith is the headliner but both acts are worth ca...
Published: 07/13/18

Tell Me About It: Decision to adopt must be her own

Q: I’m a 45-year-old single woman who is financially secure and a self-described introvert. I am happy being single, have a decent job, own a home, and have created a good life for myself. I badly want to adopt or foster a child on my own and I have ...
Updated one month ago