DEAR ABBY: My father always wanted a son, but he and Mom had only one child - me.

Now that I am the mother of two boys, he has taken over their schedule and signs them up for activities they often are not interested in pursuing. This results in my spending my time away from work taking them to activities and sports they don't enjoy.

How can I respectfully tell Dad I don't want him doing this?

He often calls my children and me lazy if we say we don't want to participate in the swimming, karate, soccer, baseball, gymnastics and other activities he constantly signs them up for.

We just want some downtime once in a while. This has caused many angst-ridden arguments.

Please help!

- Not Interested in Illinois

DEAR NOT INTERESTED: Everyone enjoys downtime once in a while, but if your children are spending their days sitting around, your father may have a right to be concerned. Daily physical exercise is important for good health.

Because none of the activities your father has chosen "for" your sons appeals to them, talk with them, suggest they choose a sport that does interest them and have them sign themselves up for it. Then inform your dad that you no longer want to hear critical comments about your boys because they are not constructive, and if it doesn't stop, he will be seeing less of all of you.

P.S. Because your dad signed his grandkids up for activities, I'm mystified that he wasn't more involved in providing their transportation.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.