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Merrily Preston
By Merrily Preston
Posted on Nov 10,2008
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

I have a friend, in her mid-fifties.  She is the mother of two boys, 20 and 23.  She is making herself and her family very unhappy because, I think, she cannot let the boys grow up.  She cannot sleep if they are out late.  She still thinks she should take them to the dentist, doctor, etc.  She meddles, bad-mouths their friends and dates, etc. The rift between them is getting wider and wider.  I am childless, so don't feel that I can come right out and advise her.  Not that she sees the problem.  Is there anything I can slip into conversation, etc, to help?  She is turning into an ogre, probably from lack of sleep.  She still wants control over them.  I'm afraid of lasting damage to their relationship.  I hate to see her in pain, yet my sympathy is with the boys.

Concerned Friend

Dear Concerned,

You cannot come right out and advise her because you are childless?  Does this mean, if you did have children, that you could advise her?  I don’t think so.  Those of us who have children don’t know how to advise her either.  

“Not that she sees the problem.”  Have we ever been able to help a person who does not see the problem or who is doing her best to ignore it?  Unsought advice falls on deaf ears.

In her own way your friend is tumbling down the steep, rocky path to meet herself.  Often this path is expensive, costing relationships and lack of sleep and pain.  We all know this path.

Since you genuinely care about your friend, wait for her to present the right opportunity for you to “slip into the conversation”, I hate to see you in pain.  Also, you can appreciate her as she is, knowing that her path belongs to her, and that you wouldn’t change it even it you could. 

Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge. Her column is exclusive to Local Kicks in Alexandria, VA. Email questions to, or use online form at .

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