Dear Abby: At least “Renee in Oregon” (Sept. 10), who asked her adult daughters for their friends’ phone numbers, cares enough to want someone to call if her adult children don’t respond. I didn’t regard her request as nosy or overbearing, simply so she’d have a “just in case” number. Renee’s daughters sound like ungrateful brats who don’t care anything about worrying their parents.
I’m thankful my four adult children will text me in response to my call to let me know they are OK. I have never had a problem getting a contact number from them. I’m blessed my kids understand that it’s not to get in their business, but a logical safety issue.
– Lucky Dad in Kentucky
Dear Lucky Dad: I’m glad for you. The response from readers about Renee’s letter was varied, and it was informative to read their perspectives:
Dear Abby: Thanks for your answer to Renee. It validated my whole life as a daughter of a domineering mother.
She is 92. I’m 62 and live 40 miles from her. I have a full-time job, take care of a small farm and still, after my weekly visit, have to call her to let her know I got home OK.
She also asks for my friends’ phone numbers. I give her inaccurate ones so she can’t pester them. My office knows to not put her calls through.
When I was younger, if she couldn’t reach me by phone, she would call the police and the ERs, send my poor father to my house to look for me, or call my veterinarian to have him make a farm call – just to be sure I hadn’t been ax-murdered.
The negative effect this has had on our relationship is profound. I have tried repeatedly to explain it to her, but she has never “gotten it,” so I have created barriers in order to maintain boundaries. She has a number she can call for her in-home care providers, so if her need is real, she can get help, and there’s always 911. I refuse to exist just for her to engulf.
– Purposely Childless in Missouri
Dear Abby: Telling Renee she was the reason her daughters moved so far away and don’t answer her calls was unnecessarily hurtful.
A better option would have been to suggest she approach her kids because she is concerned as their mother and they live so far from her. Rather than a list of their friends, she should ask each of them if there’s someone close to them she might use as an emergency contact.
– Angie In Michigan
Dear Abby: I have two daughters. If I asked them for this information, they wouldn’t hesitate to hand it over. I think that’s because my approach with my girls has always been, the more I stay out of their lives, the more they tell me. I empathize with Renee and sincerely hope she learns to back off.
– No Problems Here