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home : columns : dear harriette October 23, 2020

9/18/2020 10:53:00 AM
Grandmother tries to take grandson from his mom

DEAR HARRIETTE: My parents are divorced, and I have not had an in-person relationship with my mother for five years. My son is now 7 years old. My mother and I still had each other on social media, and she has been trolling and feuding with me about many different things that I post -- things that pertain to my son and being a mother. It's no surprise that she disagrees with all my choices and everything I do with my son.

I blocked her from everything so that she can no longer watch my life and criticize me, especially since she is not in our lives anymore. Some time after blocking her, my husband and I got served with papers that say she is trying to get custody of my son. She only met him when he was a baby. She doesn't know him at all. She is calling us unfit parents and a danger to our son. Now we have to face court to defend ourselves to keep our son. How can she do this? Does she have any chance of winning? -- Don't Take My Son

DEAR DON'T TAKE MY SON: Get an attorney immediately and share everything that you know with him. Any communication you have received from your mother, on social media or otherwise, can be used as evidence -- for or against you. Identify friends and family members who will vouch for your role as a mother and friend. Find out where your father stands in this situation. Gather your forces so that you can fight your mother if needed. Stay calm and make sure you pay close attention to your son to ensure that he is safe. Good luck.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My co-workers are always gossiping. I am very open and friendly, but I don't appreciate them talking about other co-workers' business. I do not take part in it. One day, someone asked me why I always ditch them mid-conversation. They said if I plan on being rude, I should stop joining them altogether. I said, "As soon as we go from talking regular to talking crap, you lose my respect."

Looking back, I think I could have said this differently, but I felt attacked for trying to do the right thing and walk away from a bad conversation. When I was questioned and dismissed, I kind of snapped. How can I, walking away from that type of conversation, not be obvious as to why? How am I the one ridiculed? I don't want negative energy at work, but I feel like it's already present, and now I'm probably the topic of their little clique. I want to neutralize the situation and go back to associating with co-workers and respectfully excusing myself when I become uncomfortable. -- Neutral Co-worker

DEAR NEUTRAL CO-WORKER: You cannot control your co-workers, but you can acknowledge to them that you know you were harsh when you responded to them. Tell them you enjoy talking to them, but you just don't like to gossip. When folks begin to talk about others, you like to step off. You aren't judging them; that's just not your thing.

If they stay upset, stick to your principles. Being an ally includes standing up for what's right even if it isn't popular.

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