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We’re raising our grandchildren, but I can’t handle the 13-year-old anymore. What should I do?

Dear Annie: My daughter is a drug addict who is in and out of jail. Over the past 14 years, we have taken custody of her four children. Two of the kids are great. However, the other two are the problem.

The oldest girl just turned 18 and moved out. This kid made our lives miserable. She saw counselors multiple times and began cutting herself, and we finally had to have her committed to a hospital. We did whatever we thought would work, but nothing did. She quit school and now lives with any friend who will take her in.

Now, one of the other girls is 13 and doing the same thing. It’s as if they lose their minds once they hit middle school. Her grades are down, she is getting into trouble at school, she cuts classes and has briefly run away twice.

The other two kids are very involved with school and church and are as good as they can be. But, Annie, we don’t want to handle the 13-year-old anymore. All of the counseling, the discipline, the problems, it’s too much. My stomach is in knots trying to decide what to do. I am so tired of kids who think they know everything but are dumber than dirt, and all of the drama they command.

My friends tell me to turn her over to foster care, but no one else is going to worry enough about her. My husband has had two heart surgeries in the past year, and my blood pressure is way too high, even though I take medication. Should I put her in foster care? — Helpless, Tired Granny

Dear Helpless: You sound like a caring, loving grandmother, but you are obviously overwhelmed by this difficult situation. You are not alone. Please contact the AARP Foundation GrandCare Support Locator at giclocalsupport.org for a list of available agencies and organizations in your area that help grandparents raising grandchildren. Some of them offer respite care, and it sounds like you could use that kind of assistance.

Dear Annie: My husband’s son is getting married in July. We have not been asked whether we would like to invite any of our close friends to the wedding. I know my husband would like to have his good friends see his son get married. Would it be proper to ask whether we could invite a few to the wedding? My husband’s ex-wife and her husband are inviting all of their friends and relatives.

I know my husband is hurt. I have told him to call his son and just ask. Is this OK? — Concerned Stepmom

Dear Concerned: Yes. Is your husband contributing to the cost of the wedding? If so, he should have been allotted a small guest list of his own. If he is not contributing, he should offer to pay for the cost of adding his friends to the event.

Dear Annie: “Frustrated” said she felt taken advantage of by a friend who relies on her for transportation. You suggested setting time limits.

As a woman who is disabled and unable to drive, time gets away from me when I’m out. I need to have the visual stimulation every now and then. “Frustrated’s” friend may be in a similar situation. And the intellectual stimulus of being with her friend may help her mood tremendously, since being stuck at home can make a person depressed.

Please ask “Frustrated” to have patience for her friend. — Louisville, Ken.

Dear Louisville: Many readers assumed this friend was disabled, but the writer made no mention of it. If there is a disability preventing someone from driving, of course it would require additional patience and time to be accommodating. But if the friend simply doesn’t have a license, she needs to be more considerate of those who make the effort to transport her.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar


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