Dear Abby: My daughter recently became engaged to a well-educated young man with a background similar to hers. I don't know her fiance well, but they recently spent a week at my home and his behavior made me very uncomfortable.
He acted as if this was now his home. He helped himself to food in the refrigerator and cabinets, made long-distance telephone calls, helped himself to car washing and waxing supplies, and was constantly telling me a better way to do everything, from preparing dinner to waxing the car.Following a huge dinner, he got up with no thanks for this expensive feast and raided the refrigerator! In the evenings after watching his TV selections, he would disappear into his bedroom without so much as a "good night" to anyone.
I feel good manners dictate that in someone else's home, family or not, one should ask permission to use things and to eat between meals. One should thank the host for meals and hospitality, and make no negative remarks about the way things are done.
Abby, am I being overly sensitive? Should I ask my daughter if she noticed her fiance's behavior? I am concerned for my daughter's happiness because she will always have to do things his way and agree with him to keep him happy.
I fear a heart-to-heart talk with my daughter may estrange her from me, and that would be worse than tolerating her fiance's crude behavior. Should I keep quiet or speak up?
- Concerned Parent
Dear Concerned Parent: The young man's behavior shows an obvious lack of manners. Love may be blind, but your daughter needs to open her eyes to reality. Her fiance's insensitivity and poor manners will be substantial handicaps if he hopes to get ahead in the business world.
I suggest you discuss your feelings with your daughter, but don't be confrontational. However, if she decides to marry him, warts and all, offer no more "helpful criticisms."
Dear Abby: Perhaps you have room for one more letter on sibling rivalry:
When Cindi, my second daughter, was born, Camille, my first, was about 18 months old. Whenever I cradled Cindi in my arms and Camille was nearby, I would make a point of saying to the baby, "Oh, Cindi, I hope you grow up to be as wonderful as Camille. Camille is so sweet and such a special daughter. You're so lucky to have her as your sister. And we are so blessed to have her as our daughter."
Cindi felt my love as I held her, and Camille understood the words and my loving gesture as I took her little hand in mine or patted her head lovingly. I did the same thing when Sabrina was born - but now I had two older daughters to include in the loving circle.
My daughters are all adults now - fulfilled in their careers, and still completely loving and supportive of each other. And, I must say, I am a very proud father!
- Orlando K. Cellucci, Reno, Nev.
Dear Orlando: You are to be congratulated. Not only did you ensure that each of your daughters maintained a high level of self-esteem when the next child arrived, you also managed at the same time to quell any feelings of sibling rivalry. Other parents could learn from you.
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All of the Dear Abby columns for the past several years are available online. Search for "DEAR ABBY" in the Lifestyle section and the Deseret News archives.