My 16-year-old daughter is obsessed with her boyfriend. My
husband wanted to restrict their contact from the beginning, but I
intervened. I explained that having a boyfriend was really important
socially and emotionally during the teen years. I was wrong. Her grades
have dropped significantly. I logged on to her computer to see what she
has been doing and discovered that she had e-mailed indecent photos of
herself to her boyfriend. I haven’t told my husband because he will blame me. What should I do?
Prepare to be fully humbled. Go to the bathroom, look in the mirror
and tell yourself: “I was wrong.” If you say it to yourself
first, it will be a bit easier to admit it to your husband, which is
your next step. Even if he blames you, don’t bother defending
yourself. Let him get his “I told you so” out and
don’t hold it against him, even if he repeats it more often than
When you talk to your daughter, let her know how it felt to discover
the photos and to realize who she has become. Then focus on the
consequences of her choice. Only one in 100 people marry their
high-school sweetheart. So if she and her boyfriend are among the other
99, those salacious photos can be posted, sold or used to threaten her.
If posted on the Internet, sex pics can be seen by colleges or
potential employers and shortcut her future. It will be difficult for
her to grasp these scenarios, because teenagers think mostly in the
present. But remember, good parenting includes planting seeds. You may
also wish to impose rules about her continued contact with her
boyfriend and move her computer somewhere less private. Whatever
choices you make as parents, be certain not to overreact and implement
rules that drive her further away from you and closer to her guy.
My 25-year-old son lost his job last September and his apartment
recently. Now he is couch surfing and getting by on money he makes
teaching guitar. I have been thinking about telling him that he can
move home if he does chores, finds real employment and saves what he
earns. My wife likes the household as is, with no kids in it. What
should I do?
Don’t rescue your son, save your marriage instead, at least
until your son asks for your help. You’re probably thinking his
lifestyle is hell. But he might think it’s cool not to be stuck
in a 9-to-5 gig and to be free from the burden of bills. If you raised
him right, living hand to mouth will lose its appeal and he will cast
around for a steady job. Or he will launch a creative scheme that has
energy, intelligence and potential. Or he will ask if he can move back
in. That’s right, you should trust him to arrive at a new
destination on his own.
I read online dating profiles and get excited by the
possibilities, but I don’t take action because I already know
that who these men are rarely matches what they wrote. Sometimes I
think that I should have stayed married. But when my married friends
open up, I’m glad to be single. But I can’t keep wasting
time looking through online profiles and wondering. What is wrong with
Nothing. That’s my vote, anyway. The hopeful, dreamer side of
you is in conflict with the realist side. It may seem like sanity to
say: “I’m abstaining from dating,” but don’t.
It’s a weak attempt to feel safe and superior (“I reject
dating, it can’t reject me!”) while denying disappointment.
Why not remain open? Living in the realm of all possibilities is far
of order that sets me free to fly,” said actress Julie Andrews.
What area of your life would benefit if you became a disciple of
discipline this year?