Dear Miss Manners: A family member wants to throw a housewarming party for me at HER house to celebrate my new home that is being built. Is this appropriate?
Gentle Reader: It was always Miss Manners’ belief that one threw a housewarming party to welcome a few intimate friends to see the new house. As that house will not be able to attend, what is the purpose of the party?
She hopes the answer is not “Presents!” which are properly incidental and absolutely not required. The only events at which the guest of honor is not expected to participate are baby showers and funerals.
Different rules apply
Dear Miss Manners: My stepchildren were dropped at our house and sent in with fast food to eat. As there are other children in the household, and as I was raised if you don’t have enough for everyone, you don’t take it, I sent their mother the following message:
“In the future, please do not send fast food in with the kids. It is very disrespectful to the other kids that live in this house and are limited on the amount of fast food they are allowed.”
This message then lead to a verbal confrontation, as she states that I have no right to tell her what her kids can or cannot bring into the house, and that the only one who was rude was me for sending her a message like that. I explained that I will stand up for my children whenever necessary and will not have them being disrespected in their own home.
We try to keep a level playing field in our home for all of the children, but it has been quite difficult. The animosity between the children due to repeated situations comparable to this are making it even more difficult.
Was she in the wrong, or was I, or were both of us?
Gentle Reader: Shared custody is challenging when the parties have already agreed that they no longer wish to share – that, in fact, the only remaining solution is separate households. But then, that separation should be treated with dignity and the recognition that each parent (or stepparent) is free, within reason, to set rules under each separate roof.
Your dealing with the children’s mother may reflect a wish not to put the children in the middle, although the high-horse talk about disrespect – instead of merely asking if the children could finish their snacks beforehand – was bound to be taken as a challenge.
The rules in their mother’s house allow fast food; those in yours do not. Once you make this clear to the children themselves without insulting their mother, Miss Manners assures you they will figure out on their own how to use the 50 feet from the car to your door to avoid having their fast food end up in the trash can.