Family member posts disparaging remarks about toddler on Facebook
Dear Annie: I am the thrilled stepgrandmother of a wonderful grandson, age 3. I’ve had the privilege of taking care of him twice a week since he was born.
I decided to post his pictures on Facebook because his extended family lives all over the country and appreciates the updates on his outings and activities. I also enjoy having a computerized photo book not only for myself, but to share with my housebound mother.
The problem is, one family member seems to post only negative remarks about him.
Her comments have included criticisms of his baby blanket, his potty training and the length of his hair. She never compliments the boy or makes any positive comments at all.
Today, she annoyed me so much that I deleted her comments from my page. I know that was petty and probably rude. Is there any kind of etiquette regarding Facebook posts? What about polite responses to unsolicited negative opinions about one’s grandson? – Wondering
Dear Wondering: We have to wonder what would prompt anyone to make disparaging remarks about a 3-year-old on Facebook. (The most obvious reason is jealousy.)
You can “reassign” this relative so that she no longer sees posted pictures of your grandson unless you specifically include her. You also can block her comments. Both solutions are acceptable.
However, if you wish to address this with her, please do so with a personal phone call, asking whether there is a problem that can be fixed. It is the shared, public aspect of what should be a personal dispute that makes it especially rude.
Dear Annie: You’ve printed letters about parents who are estranged from their children and have responded that neither side should let slights fester until it’s too late.
So tell me, Annie, what about a child who has been treated poorly for her entire childhood? I’m talking about my daughter. My husband led a secret life of sex and drugs and passed two STDs to me. He neglected his family to the point of emotional abuse. We are now getting a divorce after 33 years.
My daughter is getting married soon and has no intention of telling her father. This pains me, because I always hoped they would reconcile. I don’t want her to live with regret.
While I am sad for my daughter, I understand why she wants nothing to do with him, and she seems to be better off without the pain he caused. What do you think she should do? – Betrayed in Virginia
Dear Virginia: We think this is your daughter’s choice. Yes, it is possible that she will someday regret not having Dad at her wedding, but she should not feel guilty for excluding him.
And keep in mind, your soon-to-be-ex also could reach out to find out what is going on in his daughter’s life.
The best thing for you to do is not vilify her father or provoke her to recall her bitter experiences. We hope someday she can forgive him, not for his sake, but for hers.
Editor’s note: Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.