Monday, December 11, 2017
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

Tell Me About It: Parentsí extreme sheltering feels creepy

Parentsí extreme sheltering feels creepyQ: My daughter, 11, has three friends from school. One girlís parents are generous hosts. "Emma" is an only child and has a pool, fun toys, great snacks.The problem is that Emmaís parents donít let Emma be a gu...
Published: 12/10/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 11-17

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 11-17

Katy Perry: The Teenage Dream songstress roars into Tampaís Amalie Arena on Friday ($45.75-$195.75). amaliearena.com. Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights begins Tuesday, bringing fun celebrations including Hanukkah in the City at the Sundial St. Petersb...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/10/17
Wild weather expected, 2 boat parades canceled

Wild weather expected, 2 boat parades canceled

Boat parades that were planned tonight in South Pasadena and St. Pete Beach have been canceled because of weather fears.Organizers said they will not be rescheduled. Heavy rain is expected to approach the gulf coast near sunset Friday ahead of a stro...
Published: 12/08/17
Fun and profound Hanukkah celebrations around the Tampa Bay area

Fun and profound Hanukkah celebrations around the Tampa Bay area

It’s time to observe the Festival of Lights, starting at sunset Tuesday and ending Dec. 20. Many congregations seem to be having a great time, because Hanukkah celebrations this year are hilarious. There’s a menorah made of fidget spinne...
Published: 12/08/17
From Hogwarts Castle to your home, digital projectors give a real light show

From Hogwarts Castle to your home, digital projectors give a real light show

At night, Hogwarts Castle is suddenly dusted with snow in steamy Florida. It’s not really snow, but light causing this trick of the eye. Projectors and sophisticated software then send ghosts across the castle towers. A turret spins and turns i...
Published: 12/08/17

Tell Me About It: Self-awareness best way to break bad habit

Self-awareness best way to break bad habitQ: I recently had a friend tell me that I have become arrogant since I entered a new career in which thereís a culture of snobbery and one-upping.I was defensive, and would really have liked to believe she wa...
Published: 12/08/17

Tell Me About It: Exís attempt to make amends falls flat

Exís attempt to make amends falls flatQ: My first love e-mailed me out of the blue, after 10 years, to make amends as part of his AA program. The lengthy e-mail detailed my exís love for me, regrets, and urged me to consider a phone call or FaceTime ...
Published: 12/07/17
Three shades of comedy this week: Game Grumps Live, Harlem Globetrotters, Liberal Redneck comedy tour

Three shades of comedy this week: Game Grumps Live, Harlem Globetrotters, Liberal Redneck comedy tour

VIDEO STARS: Game Grumps LiveYou thought video game players were wasting their time, but these days professional players are packing stadiums and making more money than youíll ever see. They also give us hilarious shows like Game Grumps Live, coming...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17

Tell Me About It: Remarks about food choices grow tiresome

Remarks about food choices grow tiresomeQ: Iím going on vacation soon with my in-laws, siblings-in-laws, and their spouses. Over the last few years, Iíve been working on eating fewer unhealthy foods like bread and dairy, and as a result I feel much b...
Published: 12/06/17
A guide to holiday events at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens and more theme parks

A guide to holiday events at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens and more theme parks

Instead of shoveling snow, Christmas in Florida means celebrating the holiday season in shorts and T-shirts at theme parks and local attractions. Some parks even haul in “snow” for an authentic holiday vibe. While the last two weeks of t...
Published: 12/06/17