Dear Abby: Dad drops by college too often for independence-minded kids

Posted: December 16, 2012

DEAR ABBY: I'm a senior in high school and will be off to college next year. Like my older brother, I will be attending a school 30 minutes from home.

A problem he has, and that I'm worried about, is setting boundaries with our father. Dad works near the college and insists on stopping by to visit my brother at least once a week. If my brother refuses to meet with him, Dad guilt-trips him and gets angry.

I want to experience independence in college. How can I avoid this problem and set visitation boundaries with my father?

- College-Bound in Georgia

DEAR COLLEGE-BOUND: So many people your age who write to me have no father involved in their lives at all, and you appear to have a little too much. I agree that by the time a student reaches college, it is time for more independence than your father seems willing to give your brother.

If your mother is in the picture, perhaps she could reason with your dad. However, if that's not possible, your brother - and you - may have to transfer to other schools to put some distance between you.

DEAR ABBY: Charlie and I have been married 14 years. Between 1970 and 1980, he traveled with a big circus. He says those were the best years of his life.

We have taken several cruises together and other nice trips, but he never mentions them. It's always his circus days that he talks about.

I have asked him several times not to bring the subject up so much. He will go a day or two before mentioning the circus again. Is there anything I can say to make him stop? It's driving me crazy.

- Bored Under the Big Top

DEAR BORED: I'm sure your husband doesn't mean to belittle the good times you have had together. But his circus adventure ended 30 years ago. What I suspect Charlie is reminiscing about is less the circus than it is his youth.

Try this the next time he mentions the subject: Remind him that you've already heard it.

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