Dear Annie: I am 13 years old. My parents have been fighting for as long as I can remember. It's not physical, but it is loud, sarcastic and rude, and they don't seem to notice that it affects me, as well as my older siblings. They fight every night, usually about bills, and it seems to be getting worse.
My father is really hard to get along with, and he is a huge control freak and really cheap with money. My mother is the opposite about money, and she spends a lot. My dad is usually the one who starts the fights.
Neither of them thinks there is a problem, but there is. Even after 20 years of being married, they just can't get along. I don't know what to do, Annie. They won't listen to me, they won't stop screaming at each other, and every single thing we do as a family ends with them fighting. -- Distressed Daughter
Dear Distressed: Your parents have fallen into a pattern of behavior that has been going on for so long that they no longer realize how detrimental it is to their marriage and to their children. We won't get into the likely reasons for the constant bickering, but we can tell you that in order to change this behavior, they probably need third-party intervention, meaning a counselor or clergyperson. Since they won't listen to you, please enlist the help of a trusted adult -- a grandparent, aunt, uncle or a close family friend. Even your school counselor or a favorite teacher might be able to get through to your parents, so they can recognize how damaging such behavior is for those of you who witness it. And talking to one of these adults will also help you find some emotional support for yourself.
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Dear Annie: In the past three years, there have been two deaths in our neighborhood. Both times, I made food for the families. One was a casserole and the other was a full meal, soup to nuts.
Neither time was the food acknowledged with a note or a thank-you card. I was taught that you send thank-you cards for food received after a funeral. Is this not a Southern custom? Do I continue giving my time and effort, knowing it will not be appreciated or acknowledged? -- Southern Belle
Dear Belle: Sending thank-you notes for kindnesses after a funeral is not limited to any particular region. It is expected and proper everywhere. People sometimes think that mourners are exempt from such niceties, but this is what friends are for -- to help write notes to those people who made meals, sent flowers or did other such things. (And no, it doesn't matter how many casseroles one receives or wants. You thank the giver regardless.)
Please don't stop making casseroles. Our only suggestions would be to make sure they can be frozen, and to put them in disposable containers so the family isn't obligated to wash and return the dish. We are certain the food was appreciated, even though the neighbors may have been overwhelmed at the time. On their behalf, we'd like to thank you and all the other thoughtful people who care enough to reach out to others in times of need.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2016 CREATORS.COM