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Dear Abby: Parents should answer girl's threat with some tough love

Dear Abby: I feel like my heart has been ripped out and stomped on. My 18-year-old daughter, "Emily," hooked up with a 27-year-old ex-convict ("Jerry") and had his baby three months ago. Although we disapproved of the relationship, we let him move into our home. A month later, I caught him with another girl and my daughter ended their relationship.

Last week, Emily announced that Jerry wants her back and has admitted all his wrongs. Abby, she wants us to let him move back in! My husband refuses to support them any longer. Emily has now chosen Jerry and says she is taking the baby, even though she has no place to go because he's still living with the other girl. Neither of them can afford an apartment.

I feel if I don't go along with it I am throwing my innocent grandchild out into the street, and it breaks my heart. Is tough love the right answer?

— Crying in Virginia

Dear Crying: Yes, so call her bluff. Tough love would be better than allowing your daughter to blackmail you, which is what she's attempting to do. It's unlikely that Emily will wind up on the street.

I seriously doubt that Jerry will give up a sure thing and a roof over his head to build a life with your daughter. When she wakes up to that fact, I predict she'll be back on your doorstep — so be prepared.

Dear Abby: My husband's grandson just graduated from the eighth grade. Because he lives in another part of the state we were unable to attend the graduation, but we sent him a graduation card with $5 enclosed.

My husband's daughter called to acknowledge the card "for" her son. Then she asked if my husband was having financial difficulties because he sent only $5 while some of her friends gave her son $50. She said we should have sent more. My husband was so shocked by her insensitivity that he hung up on her.

His daughter did not call or send a card on Father's Day. However, today we received a card from his grandson thanking us for the $5 and saying if we had dug deeper and added $1, he could have bought a slice of pizza.

Abby, how do we respond to these two?

— Hurt Grandparents, Anaheim, Calif.

Dear Hurt Grandparents: Unbelievable. Your husband was kind to send the boy anything in addition to the card. His daughter's response shows where her priorities are. I'll give her son this: He did acknowledge the gift — but he should have stopped at thank you and omitted the snide remark.

How should the two of you respond? By keeping the lines of communication open and your wallet closed.

Dear Abby: I was raised to respect people's personal space, especially when standing in line. However, often when I stand in line patiently waiting my turn, I find the person behind me practically breathing down my neck. I keep telling myself to politely ask for space, but I can't muster the courage because I'm afraid they will think I'm rude. How can I ask for space without sounding rude?

— Needs My Space in Connecticut

Dear Needs My Space: For heaven's sake, muster the courage. The last thing you need is a stranger standing behind you watching you enter a pin number on a debit card.

There is nothing nasty about turning around and saying that when someone stands too close it makes you uncomfortable and to please step back. Speaking up for yourself isn't rude. It's being assertive — which is healthy when compared to feeling like a doormat.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

© Universal Press Syndicate