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Time to tell daughter about family conflict

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Dear Lois: So many loving, compassionate grandparents who cannot be with grandchildren write to you that I want your opinion about a grandfather who decided never to see his daughter again or his granddaughter (my 8-year-old daughter).

My father was emotionally distant, sometimes abusive and very cold as I grew up. He has always controlled my mother's life, and after he blew up at me by yelling at a family gathering (no one is sure of the reason), he and I had a very emotional, wrenching discussion, and I told him tearfully that I knew he had never liked me.He answered that I was right and added, "There's something genetically wrong with you. It's nothing I've done to you. I refuse to accept that."

Don't tell me to talk to my mother. I have, and her answer is, "I took vows with your father." Actually I think she fears him.

Please tell me what you think the possible long-term effects on my daughter will be as the result of having no relationship with her grandparents and no explanation about the reason they are missing.

Since I left home at 17 (I am now 42) I have spent 25 years on my own, went to school, got a job, married an abusive man and finally divorced him - all without financial or emotional support from my parents.

I can't face the fact that my parents, especially my mother, don't love me or my daughter enough to see us.

- Sharon, Annapolis, Md.

Dear Sharon: After hearing only your side of the story, I'm not in a position to explain the reasons your parents are estranged from you and your child.

In terms of helping your daughter deal with the denial of their love and support, I suggest you sit down with her (at 8, she's old enough to understand) and without tears or anger tell her that sometimes adults do things other adults do not understand.

Say simply that your parents are angry with you. They have never given you a good reason, and you have tried to be a good daughter. You can tell your daughter that you pray this never happens between the two of you and that when she feels angry or upset, she is to come to you and talk things over. Explain that if your parents had done that, you would probably be together now.

Then try to find substitute grandparents or aunts and uncles among your friends, members of your church or neighbors. Perhaps they will help you, as well as your daughter, overcome the obvious hurt and anger that you feel. Best wishes.

Dear Lois: When I heard the story about the 63-year-old new mother, it made me think that if the world is already overpopulated (and I don't think it can be argued convincingly that it isn't), then what good can come from making it possible for the population to grow even more by devising ways to allow reproduction long after nature's announced cut-off date?

Also, is it in any way reasonable for a couple to become parents when there is no eternal youth and no hope that their lives will be extended long enough not to leave their child an orphan?

- Mickey Trent, Dallas

Dear Mickey: Answers to your questions: 1) None, 2) No. Next question.