Truth, lies, and the not-so-biological father
Dear Annie: My grandson “Logan” was fathered by someone other than his elder and younger brothers’ father, “Ron.” (Our daughter was separated at the time from Ron, and they ended up getting back together before Logan was born.) When Logan was born, they put Ron as his father on the birth certificate. Ron and both sets of grandparents know that Ron is not Logan’s biological father. The biological father and his family also are aware that Logan exists but are not interested in any type of relationship. Logan is almost 18. Since he was about 10, I have thought that we should let Logan know about his circumstances. Of course, Ron is and always will be Logan’s “dad,” but over the past seven or eight years, Logan has made various references about the fact that he looks nothing like his brothers or parents. (He really is a spitting image of his biological father.) Our daughter claims she’s wanted to tell Logan many times, but Ron absolutely prohibits it.
When our daughter and Ron finally split up a year ago (after 20 years of being together, though they were never married), Ron tried to force us all to sign a document stating that we would never tell Logan about his biological father. Since the split, Logan has been very angry with his mother. He blames her for everything (because that’s what Ron tells him). My issue is that sooner or later, Logan is going to find out about the lie that we have all kept for 18 years. He’s already angry with us all because of his parents splitting up, so what’s it going to do to him when he finds out we all knew and no one told him? I have suggested counseling just on a general basis, but Ron forbids it. What happens if Logan needs medical treatment and a simple blood test shows Ron is not a match?
I want to be honest with my grandson, but I think we have gone way past the point of no return. Which would be worse, telling him now (with controlled support of family and therapists) or just keeping the lie until it all blows up? — Truth or Consequences
Dear Truth or Consequences: I agree that it would be best for Logan to know the truth about his parentage so he doesn’t provide doctors with inaccurate family medical history, among other reasons. But this isn’t your decision to make. You can encourage your daughter to tell him (maybe she’ll feel that she can now that she and Ron have split up), but it’s ultimately up to her. As you say, the truth will eventually out, one way or another.
Dear Annie: My 17-year-old granddaughter worked for a well-known chain restaurant. Not only was she expected to get tips to supplement her wages but also the manager had the nerve to take half of the tips from her, saying that part of each tip was for the quality of the food. She needed the job, so she did not complain to whatever authorities regulate these places. — Anonymous Grandma
Dear Anonymous Grandma: According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, “tips are the property of the employee whether or not the employer has taken a tip credit.” See the U.S. Department of Labor fact sheet titled “Ownership of Tips Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” for more information. Though it’s not clear from your letter whether any laws were being violated, I encourage your granddaughter to read up on her rights.
Dear Annie is written by Annie Lane, a young, married mother of two. Send questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.