, Advice by Ann Landers - []
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Section: mental-health, children

Dear Ann Landers,
I am planning to marry the love of my life in June. "Phillip" is a terrific guy except when it comes to my 12-year-old daughter, "Beth," who is very sweet but has attention deficit disorder. Phillip does not understand that she needs to be reminded of things over and over. When he asks her to do a chore, he expects her to jump to it immediately. He doesn't realize that Beth is easily distracted and forgets. She isn't being deliberately disobedient. I think Phillip is being too hard on Beth when he says she needs more discipline. I agree that Beth may resent Phillip's presence in my life, but it doesn't help when he yells at her all the time. I love him dearly, but I'm having second thoughts about what marrying him might do to my daughter. Help me make the right choice. -- Unsure in Baltimore

Dear Unsure,
Put Phillip in touch with the authority who diagnosed Beth's problem. When he understands it better, he will be a lot less judgmental. Work at smoothing the way between him and Beth. And don't let Phillip get away. In a few years, Beth will be gone, and you could be very much alone.

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Janan's Comment
I would say that a man who yells at your 12 year old daughter is not a man you wnt in your house or in your life. For any reason. Period. Unlike some boyfriend, your daughter will never 'Be Gone." Your birthed her, she is yours. You brought her into the world and must see her through it. Additionally, unlike a hostile man (one who yells), your daughter WILL be there for you all your life. That man will probably yell at you too if he hasn't got the self control to keep from yelling at a 12 year old. And who is he to tell her to do chores? He's not her father or even married to you yet. If your daughter has ADD, it is something you must help her with that and put her needs first. At 12 years old she is forming her self identity and learning life coping skills. Her long term survival is more important that some mis-construed idea of what a perfect man is. Hint: a perfect man does NOT yell at your 12 year old daughter. Can't believe you even asked, and Ann Landers, you are from an old era, but even my grandmothers would not advise a woman to over look her daughter.

WritersWriter's Comment
Children with neurological problems never go away from their parents' lives. Most will need close family ties for all of their lives. Many have warm personalities and it is sad that this man cannot make the shift needed for her to feel comfortable in her own home. If you are at the point of marriage and he has not learned how to interact with your special needs daughter he is not the man for your household. The love of your life is your disabled daughter and the right man for you is the one that can love, understand, and respect both of you.

Maryann's Comment
This is probably the most awful advice Ann has ever given. This woman's twelve year old daughter has a handicap and the man she plans to marry is "yelling at her all the time." Ann tells the woman "Don't let him get away. In a few years Beth will be gone." Yes, Beth will be gone all right--out of her mother's life forever. The man's animosity toward this 12 year old girl will only get worse after he marries her mother. Dump him now. I think Ann must have either been drinking or ill to give such terrible advice.

Reader Comment
I would rather be very much alone than married to someone who yells at my daughter all the time.

Reader Comment
Sorry to criticize Ann, but her answer to this was a heartbreaker! The Mom is fortunate to have proof of this man's insensitivity and temperament BEFORE she says I do. I suspect if the child was this mans biological daughter he would take a more active role in learning about/supporting her disability. Hope mom and child will head for the hills while there's still time!!!

Reader Comment
I would dump him! My child comes first!

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Reader Comment
This was awful advice, Ann. No mother should marry a man who is abusive to a child. No mother should stay with a man who abuses her children. No child should have to bear constant abuse, so that their mother would not be alone. The message that you sent to that 12-year old girl is that having a man in your life is more important than loving your child. Shame on you.

Twobsure's Comment
Oh my....Run! I totally disagree with Ann! My daughter too had ADD

Twobsure's Comment
My comment was cut off! My son's father was very mean to my daughter

Twobsure's Comment
My comment was cut off! My son's father was very mean to my daughter

Twobsure's Comment
Oh my....Run! I totally disagree with Ann! My daughter too had ADD

Mary's Comment
Phillip may be a great guy. Men come and go, Your primary obligation is to raising Beth. If Phillip would tread lightly and let you do the parenting, this might work out. If Phillip doesn’t relate well to Beth’s situation, he could do a lot of damage, Beth will suffer for it, and the marriage won’t last. Beth’s abilities most likely will improve in time and with study. Sounds like the timing for this relationship is off.. Anyone who has raised children will tell you, the years go by so fast, and you don’t get any do-overs. You will have plenty of time to cater to the whims of a man, when your daughter is raised and not vulnerable.

Kathy K's Comment
Ann is SOOOOO wrong. Your daughter comes first. Her life will be one of misery, and the emotional and psychological harm that will be done to her by living with a stepfather that yells, is too hard on her and makes no accommodation for AHDH will be permanent. Your first responsibility is to your daughter. You owe her a life that is peaceful and accepting. This NOT the man for you and your daughter.

Deming NM's Comment
If you want sex with him, fine, bang him - but DON'T live with him.

Juice's Comment
Agree with comments to not marry the guy now,, get him educated

roselyn's Comment
My question is why are you letting him scream at your daughter. What kind of mother allows that. you need to check not only him, but yourself, I'm sure he treats her worse when you are not around. But, then again , he treats her bad when you are there. You don't need a man that bad, do you!!

Jaroslaw99's Comment
I’m 60 and the definition of child abuse has sure changed. Is he really yelling ALL the time? It is telling Beth resents his presence. Before she marries Phillip she should have the child tested to see exactly what her limits are. Even challenged people can play for sympathy. If after this and a very firm discussion with Phillip there are still doubts the marriage is off. The mother’s first obligation is to the child.

Reader Comment
I agree with most of the commenters here, kids are forever. There are other men. There is no other of your daughter. Also, unless your boyfriend is young and will mature out of the "when I say jump, you ask how high" mentality, it's a horrible character trait for a step dad.

Ronnie's Comment
Ann must have lost her mind on this one!!

Shug's Comment
"Blood is thicker than water." Your daughter will always be your biological daughter. Neither of you need a man in the home who cannot control his yelling, and is seemingly always angry at your child. She is 12, on the cusp of womanhood. She needs a stepdad who understands her ADD and helps her work through it, setting reminders, etc. What I see is a man who does not respect your parenting. Even before marriage he has decided he will discipline your daughter his own way because, in his mind, you are not doing it right. MAMA, LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER INSTINCTS!!! You're feeling like maybe you should break your engagement? Do it! If he loves you and your daughter enough to get counseling for the yelling and training on how to help an ADD child. and sincerely apologizes, then maybe he gets another chance. But I'm begging you, please don't marry him now. Don't bring that turmoil into your home. Having a man is not worth it, and he will scar your daughter for life, and it may continue into future generations of your family.
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"At every party there are two kinds of people - those who want to go home and those who don't. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other."
-Ann Landers