Dear Barb:

Dear Barb:

I am the youngest in a family of three girls. My father has recently been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Our growing up has been dysfunctional for the most part, as my father was physically and verbally abusive to me and my sisters. Fortunately, I have been able to make amends with my father and our relationship has been cordial for the last few years. My sisters have not seen my father for years. Dad has expressed to me that he would like to see my sisters before he passes. Whenever I bring up the subject to my sisters they adamantly refuse to see my dad, claiming they are at peace with their decision. I really think they are going to regret this choice. How can I get them to visit dad before it’s too late?

Hi Kerry, you have done all that you can do.

Your sisters are adults; it’s up to them whether they want to see your father. You can’t make that decision for them. If they say they are at peace, then you have to accept that they are. While you may not agree with their decision, you have to respect it. They may still change their minds, but you can’t force that. As long as your dad is still here, there is hope!

Thanks for your question.

Dear Barb:

My mother is driving me crazy!!! I started university in September and my mother won’t leave me alone. In fact, I moved into an apartment with a roommate and mom is driving us both crazy. Don’t get me wrong I love my mom, but she is so overbearing. She calls me at least three times a day and comes over every other day. She brings home cooked meals for us and wants to take my laundry home to wash. I moved out because I needed my space. How can I stop this without hurting my mom’s feelings? I really need to cut the apron strings!! Help!!

Hey Nicole,

obviously your mother is not ready to cut the apron strings. It’s very difficult for some parents to allow their children to grow up. By doing your laundry and cooking for you your mom is still able to take care of you, albeit from a distance. Even though this works for her, it definitely is not working for you. You need to set some boundaries for your mom. Explain to her that you really want to be on your own, which means doing your own cooking and laundry, etc. Perhaps you can make a tentative arrangement to visit on Sundays for dinner, however your mother has to be prepared for the possibility that something may come up and you will not be able to make it every Sunday. She probably just needs the reassurance of knowing that she will still see you and be a part of your life. You are fortunate to have a loving, caring mother. Thanks for writing.

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