Annie Lane: Disrespectful son

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, December 9, 2020

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Dear Annie: Two years ago, I got on my then-17-year-old son for using a very derogatory term for women. I told him that the word should not be a part of his vocabulary, and it would cause great harm to his reputation if he were to use the word in public. He got angry with me. The argument ended with him leaving my home. He went to stay with his mother and didn’t come over to my house for his normal visits for his entire senior year of high school.

My son blamed me for the rift and refused to see me. I got married later that summer and even though he said he would attend, he didn’t show up, and neither did my younger son. A year later, I attended his high school graduation and things seemed to be on the mend until, during a discussion, he said he was not sorry for cutting me out of his life for his senior year and doesn’t regret it.

His blazon arrogance and narcissistic personality are very much reminiscent of his maternal grandfather, whom he idolizes. This has caused me to not enjoy being around him, and I did not want to spend much time with him the past year. As a parent, should I just ignore the bad behavior and suffer having him around? Or should I continue to refuse to see him until he matures and learns that my wife and I deserve to be treated with respect, requiring him to apologize for his past behavior if he wants to spend time with us?

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  Dad with Questions

Dad with Questions: If you refuse to see your son until the day he wakes up having spontaneously metamorphosized into a mature human being, you might never see him again. But if you silently suffer his bullying behavior, it will poison your relationship. Fortunately, you have other options. Continue to see him as often as is comfortable for you, taking breaks for as long as you need. When you do see him, call out any bad behavior as it arises. If and when he persists in rudeness, firmly (not fiercely) end the visit. It is unlikely that he will become a new man overnight, but he could become a better one over time.

• • •

Dear Annie: Some thoughts for us all, in this time of shopping during the pandemic. Recently, I have seen shoppers overloading their carts with products of all kinds, and not leaving at least one for the next customer. I have seen this happen multiple times with all manner of household essentials, from cleaning supplies to paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels. This happens even when there are signs asking customers to limit themselves to one or two of each of these items. I wish others would be considerate enough to leave at least a few for the other customers and not clear the shelves of items. We are all experiencing a time we’d never imagined, and we need to be in this together to cope and survive until our previous lifestyle returns. I hope that we all can learn to share and show kindness to our fellow Americans.

  Shopper in Need

Dear Shopper: I hope so, too. Fears about shortages are self-fulfilling prophecies, as people hoard essential items and create the very situation of which they were afraid. There is plenty to go around, so let’s start acting like it.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book —  featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette —  is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to