Advice columnist Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships
Q My husband has been like a father to my daughter for the past 25 years – much more so than her biological dad.
My daughter is expecting a baby next month and so I’m shocked by her decision that the baby won’t be calling my partner “grandad”.
As my husband has been there for almost all of her life, it seems so unfair – and I’m sure he’ll be hurt.
I don’t know how to tell him or what to say to my daughter.
A If your husband isn’t going to be known as “grandad”, have you asked your daughter what other name she wants her baby to use?
It may be you have misunderstood her and that she simply doesn’t like the term “grandad”.
I can understand you feeling hurt for your husband but now is not the time to do anything about it.
She’s in the late stages of her pregnancy and her emotions will be all over the place. Even after the baby is born, it won’t be an issue until the child starts talking, so I should wait before having any further discussion about it.
In any case, children often come up with their own names for family members.
I’M TAKEN FOR GRANTED
Q I do all the washing, cooking, cleaning, ironing, taxi services and management in our house, and I’m sick to death of it.
My husband works long hours and I only work part-time so it seems unfair to expect him to do much, but he doesn’t do anything.
As for our two teenage sons, they just take me for granted.
I’ve had enough and I’m getting grumpy and bad-tempered about it, but they don’t seem to realise why.
A Nor will they understand unless you tell them.
Teenage boys should be doing their fair share around the home and there’s no reason why your husband can’t set an example.
You will be doing them a favour in the long term, as your sons’ future partners will be much happier with a man that does his share.
It’s time for a family conference. Make a list of all your chores and start sharing them out.
There is a downside to this – they won’t necessarily be done as well as you’d do them yourself, but that’s something you’ll have to live with.
I would suggest it might be worth talking to your husband in private, though, to get him on your side.
COT DEATH: FAMILY IN PAIN
Q My son and daughter-in-law have just lost their baby to cot death.
Everyone is in a state of shock and we really can’t believe it’s happened.
My daughter-in-law is in pieces and I’m not much better. While my son is trying to be strong, you can see how much he is hurting.
My husband and I are doing all we can to help on a practical level but it still can’t take their pain away.
I wish I could do more.
A Never underestimate the strength of a shoulder to cry on.
If you are helping them on a practical level, too, then you are doing all anyone could do for them in their present situation.
The worst thing about a cot death is that it seems to happen for no apparent reason, so make sure your son and his partner don’t blame themselves.