Annie Lane: Seeking financial support for son

Published 6:30 am Saturday, March 20, 2021

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Dear Annie: My son, “Tim,” is engaged to “Jennifer,” a woman whom he’s been seeing for many years. They have two small children together. My problem is that Jennifer will not get a job. Tim supports all of them. She used to work, before their first child, but has not since.

We have all hinted to her about getting a job and even found jobs for her, but her answer is always the same: “I can’t put my kids in day care! Nobody knows them there.” Well, sure — nobody is going to know them if they are always home and don’t meet new kids and people.

Tim and Jennifer plan on getting married in the next couple of years, and I feel like she’s taking advantage of him. Her mom was the same way when she was growing up. Help! What can a person do? He shouldn’t have to work his butt off to support all of them.

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— Mama Needs Help

Dear Mama: I understand your protectiveness: He’ll always be your little boy. But he’s also a grown man, and if he is unhappy with the dynamics with Jennifer — which isn’t even clear, based on your letter — then it’s on him to talk to her about it.

The most you can do is let him know that you’re always there if he wants to talk about things. Offer an empathetic ear. If he asks for it, then offer your perspective. But whatever you do, quit offering your soon-to-be daughter-in-law the classifieds section. Because despite our best (and well-intended) efforts, our loved ones have this pesky thing called free will — and we need to accept that fact if we want to have healthy relationships with them.

• • •

Dear Annie: I have a 45-year-old son who is my whole life. But he has always been in and out of the drug scene. He has two sons of his own, neither of which will speak to him, me or anyone else in our family. This, even though he has always worked and paid his child support. He does have a temper that is out of this world.

Almost 10 years ago, he started going to church and was even baptized and saved. Now, he’s done a 180-degree turn — yet again. He does not work, and he is currently living with his father and me. I try to talk with him, but I can’t seem to carry on a conversation with him without him getting mad. Yet, he doesn’t appear to be on drugs or drinking.

We really don’t know what to do at this point. We’ve always still invited him to church with us whenever we go, but he never wants to go with us. Any suggestions for me?

— Worried About My Son

Dear Worried: Living for decades with the disease of addiction can warp one’s perspective — and I’m not just referring to your son. You, too, have been living with the disease, and it’s equally important that you seek recovery. There are many resources available, including therapy; books such as Melody Beattie’s “Codependent No More”; and programs such as Nar-Anon (, Al-Anon (, or LifeRing Recovery (

While it’s still difficult to meet up in person for many of us, Nar-Anon and LifeRing are holding online meetings via video conferencing, and Al-Anon hosts telephone meetings in addition to online meetings.

“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