My grandson is a deadbeat dad. What should I do?

Photo of author

My grandson has been married three times and has two children: a child from his third wife and an 8-year-old daughter from his first marriage. He refused to have any contact with his daughter or pay any child support to his first wife. I am hurt and angry that they have abandoned my child! I haven’t seen their new baby yet, nor do I want to. This marriage may fail, and I may never see my new great-grandson. Meanwhile, my heart breaks for my great-granddaughter, who just wants to see her daddy. My grandson and his new wife are running away from my family, so I don’t know what to do. Should I talk to him or have nothing to do with him?

great grandmother

I understand your focus is on your grandson. He’s probably the person you know best in this story, and he appears to be the worst behaved. Call her and urge her to help support her daughter financially and emotionally. (Why not?) However, I have another idea that may prove more beneficial to your great-granddaughter, and the outcome of which is more in your control.

According to a report by the US Census Bureau, nearly 30 percent of non-custodial parents who were required to make child support payments failed to pay anything at all. It’s worth a try to call your grandchild, but your request may not make much of an impression on a deadbeat dad. I hope your grandson’s ex-wife hires a killer lawyer and recovers every penny she is entitled to – with interest.

Your energy would probably be better spent on your great-granddaughter. Be involved with him as much as possible (without creating an extra burden for his mother). Consider regular visits, outings, Zoom calls – even special greeting cards. Make sure she knows how much you love her. It won’t make up for her abandonment by her father, but it can create a tremendously bright spot in her life.

I was invited by a friend and his wife to stay at their home during a brief vacation. I had a wonderful time! He treated me royally, drove me around town and declined my repeated offers to pay for meals. Afterwards, I sent her a thank-you note and a large gift certificate. That’s when things went wrong: My friend asked me to take back the certificate and told me that I had offended her by treating her house like a hotel. Lastly, I wish my gift didn’t have an obvious cash value, but I just can’t fix that. We haven’t spoken since our uncomfortable exchange. What should I do?

house guest

Call your friend to apologize. you inadvertently offended him; That’s what apologies are for. However, this was hardly a capital crime. Many people give away gift certificates without incident. Your point about their apparent cash value is correct, I think, but I’m not sure what they mean by “treating your home like a hotel”. Do you?

When you catch up with him on the phone, tell him that he and his wife were wonderful hosts and thank them again for a nice visit. Then say: “I’m sorry I bothered you. Could you please forgive me?” Then listen. He can elaborate on the reason for his distress.

A friend has an annoying habit of ordering expensive food and wine when we go out to eat. I order modestly and never order alcohol. When it comes time to pay, she suggests splitting the bill in half, or she asks me to contribute a higher tip than I should. I don’t want to sound mean or mean, but it drives me crazy. I don’t want to burden the waiter by asking for a separate check. What to do?


Burden on the waiter! If you’re bothered by paying a few bucks more in tip than you’re owed, I can’t imagine a solution here for splitting taxes and tips that doesn’t involve complicated math. In my experience, waiters don’t mind giving out separate checks for smaller parties if you ask for them in advance.

Worse than the hard math, I suspect that the alternatives to this approach will harden your tendency to think that your friend is giving open-minded orders to take advantage of you – which is probably not the case. I respect your desire (or perhaps your need) for frugality when dining out, but you can meet it with a simple request: “Can we have separate checks?”

I’m a woman of retirement age, and I started taking yoga classes with a young male teacher. I admire his enthusiasm, but not his low-slung exercise shorts, which often expose several inches of cleavage on his butt. Is there a cool way to ask him to invest in high-waisted shorts?

yoga student

Your yoga class sounds different to mine, where low-cut bra tops and skintight leggings are the norm. Not many inches of flesh are left to the imagination.

If you can’t stand the sight of a guy in low-rise shorts flinching, look away from under him. If that doesn’t suit you, find another class. Your payment doesn’t give you veto rights over her wardrobe.

For help with your awkward situation, send a question to Philip Galanes on Facebook at [email protected] or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.

Leave a Comment