Ask Amy

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 10:45pm

DEAR AMY: My brother and his girlfriend have finally decided to get married.

The family received invitations in the mail, and on the side of the invitation it stated "adult only reception, no children under 18, please."

This puts my husband and me in a sticky situation because we have a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old. They are the only children on my brother's side.

Our kids are always with us for everything.

This has really hurt my children's feelings, and now they don't even want to go to the wedding ceremony.

I asked about it, and the bride said they have very limited seating and had to scale back, and I understand.

My question is why would they invite friends and cousins they rarely see over their niece and nephew, whom they see all the time?

My husband and I decided we are not going to go to the reception without our kids, and I explained to the bride that we do not think it is right to bring them to the wedding and then have to drop them off at home while we go to the reception.

Not being able to go to their reception is hurting me.

Should we stick to our guns and not go to the reception, or drop our kids off at home and go?

I love my brother and his girlfriend. We are very happy for them, but this makes us choose between our kids and them. We need help and fast!

— Stick to Our Guns?

DEAR STICK: Your brother and his bride have been very clear, and you claim to understand their reasons but expect for your children to be granted an exception.

This should not be an occasion for your family to have your feelings hurt, but an opportunity for you to explain to your kids that they can't be included in every event.

It's not complicated and it's not personal. Sometimes you don't get to do things you want to do. Your kids shouldn't use their feelings to manipulate you, and you shouldn't attempt to manipulate the marrying couple.

Couples have the right to choose the guest list for their wedding receptions, and if you don't like the terms or would be unhappy, resentful or poor guests, then I agree that your family should enjoy the wedding ceremony and skip the reception.


DEAR AMY:
I am a 16-year-old girl, and one of my best friends, "Wendy," has a mother who I would categorize as an abusive parent.

Wendy is a competitive swimmer, so although she does not have a "skinny" frame, she has a healthy body weight.

Her mother keeps urging her to lose 10 pounds. She has put Wendy on a crazy diet (with Wendy's approval), where for the first three days she can only eat vegetables.

She has also given her appetite suppressant pills.

I am worried because Wendy has low self-esteem.

In middle school she would cut herself, and I am worried that this added stress to her already hectic schedule will push her over the edge. What is my role in this?

— Concerned

DEAR CONCERNED: Your role as a friend is to be empathetic and interested. You should offer a broad shoulder for Wendy to lean on and a sympathetic ear. You should tell her you're worried about her and make sure she can talk to you about anything.

Wendy should also seek out an adult to talk to about her stress level. Her swimming coach might not be the person to speak to because, unfortunately, sometimes coaches encourage athletes and their parents to pursue unhealthy dieting.

Your counselor at school can offer resources for her. You should suggest it.


DEAR AMY:
Our oldest son is on the cusp of dating.

When he and a date go out for the first time, who pays?

As a mother who watches her son cut grass, baby-sit and do chores to earn spending money, I find it odd that a girl would expect my son to pay for everything. What is the protocol? Have we evolved?

— Mom

DEAR MOM: The person who initiates the invitation should offer to pay for the guest, regardless of gender.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com

Filed under: Lifestyles

2 Comments on this post:

By: sidneyames on 9/29/09 at 8:09

To the Mom who finds it odd that a girl would expect her son to pay for everything I'd like too ask: How did it go on your dates? I agree with Amy; the person who initiates the invite should pay for the guest. That's just good manners.

By: govskeptic on 9/29/09 at 9:00

At 14 & 16 the kids don't need to be at the reception.
It's always funny that relatives going to events sponorsed
by and paid for by others think they should be the ones
to set the rules!