Dear Abby: Sparring over parenting styles

Dear Abby >> I am raising a granddaughter. We went to visit her aunt and cousin and had a nice day until my granddaughter told her aunt she should let her 5-year-old pick out her own clothes. My daughter became enraged and told me I had to teach my granddaughter to respect adults. I told my daughter I didn’t think she should tell me how to raise this child.

My daughter then began yelling and cursing and threw us out of her house. My granddaughter was distraught after being yelled at even after she apologized.

I have thought for a couple of years that my daughter isn’t mentally healthy. I will not expose my granddaughter to her aunt again. I would, however, like to maintain a connection with this daughter because I want a relationship with the 5-year-old. I’m willing to let this event go.

I know my daughter thinks this is all my fault and she did nothing wrong. She suffers from a number of delusions, some related to social media. I’m not quite sure what is the right thing to do. Please help.

— On Eggshells in New Hampshire

Dear On eggshells >> When your unstable daughter told you to teach your granddaughter to respect adults, you should not have reacted by fanning the flames. If you wish to have a relationship with the grandchild who lives with this daughter, apologize for the blow-up. It might also be wise to warn the granddaughter you’re raising that her aunt is “sensitive” to parenting advice, not to offer it again and to limit her exposure.

Dear Abby >> Is it improper to decline a wedding reception invitation just because you do not wish to attend? I have received a “save the date” postcard from a co-worker’s daughter for her wedding. I don’t know this girl or her fiance, and I’m not particularly close to her mother.

Where we live, a gift of $150 per person is expected if you attend a wedding reception. My husband and I are on a tight budget, and a $300 gift would be a sacrifice.

We attended her older daughter’s wedding seven years ago, but enough is enough. Can I decline the invitation by saying we are sorry, but we are unable to attend? Or is it mandatory that we attend?

— Don’t Want To in Illinois

Dear Don’t want to >> An invitation is not a command performance! Because you don’t want to go, and because it would create a financial hardship, check “will not attend” on the RSVP card included with the invitation. It’s that simple. Although you will not be obliged to spend $300, it would be nice if you sent the happy couple a card wishing them a long and happy marriage.

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