DEAR ABBY: My daughter and her boyfriend have been together for four years. Despite being almost 30, he is very immature and constantly distracted by either his phone or his video games.
Abby, he travels with his PlayStation everywhere he goes. When he comes into our house, he sets up his console in the living room, puts on headphones and plays games all day and night. If the family asks to use the TV for a few hours, he will sit on the sofa and take a nap or pull out his phone and continue gaming.
I know nothing more about him than I did the first month I met him. He is rude, boorish, self-centered and has a criminal record (drugs). They live in another state, and for my daughter's sake, I try to accommodate him. When I asked for them to "visit us, not our TV," she became very defensive.
Is this the new norm? Must I provide a TV in their room for when they stay? When they went to visit his family who live near us, he took the system to their house for the three-hour visit.
How do I deal with this addiction? My daughter now wants to bring him along while we have our mother/daughter lunch and manicures. It's like he's 3 and has to tag along. He has no friends. When she goes out for a night with her girlfriends, we are expected to "baby-sit." I've never encountered anything like this. Please advise me. -- DONE MOTHERING IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR DONE: I'll try, but first you will have to admit your part in creating this problem. You have to learn to say no to your daughter and her "boy"friend. If you want to watch television for a few hours during their visit, remember it's your home and you don't have to apologize for it. If you want a mother/daughter lunch and manicures, and she wants to drag him along, say, "No, this is our mother/daughter time. An hour or so alone with you is not too much to ask."
The solution to your problem is to stop allowing your daughter – and her socially inadequate boyfriend – to dictate what's happening under your roof and in your life. Until you put your foot down, nothing will change.
DEAR ABBY: By coincidence, I have a niece and nephew who will be graduating at the same time this spring. My nephew is getting a degree from a four-year college. My niece is getting a beautician's license from a high school/trade school. She has no plans to attend college.
I will be giving them both graduation gifts, but should the amount be based on their level of education, or the fact that they have both completed their educations?
I don't want my niece to feel slighted. She chose a profession she loves but does not require further education. I also don't want my nephew to feel slighted because he worked longer at far greater expense. -- UNSURE IN THE EAST
DEAR UNSURE: If you are worried that your niece and nephew will compare your gifts, give each the same amount. What these gifts memorialize is not the money that was spent on their educations, but rather that they have both attained the level of education for which they were working.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.