Sup­port for your son is what fam­ily is all about

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­

Q. My son, 19, is in school and has been dat­ing his girl­friend for three years. She’s very sweet and nice with me.

She’s also good with lit­tle chil­dren, which I like, be­cause my hus­band and I have a tod­dler daugh­ter (sec­ond mar­riage).

We’re plan­ning a win­ter break “fam­ily va­ca­tion.” Last year my son joined us, but spent so much time on the phone with his girl­friend and miss­ing her, that it was an­noy­ing.

We’re think­ing of invit­ing the girl­friend along too, and pay­ing for two rooms. Is it wrong for us to openly sup­port my son and his girl­friend sleep­ing together even though we’re al­ready sure that they do?

A. Show­ing your son the de­sire for him and his girl­friend to be part of this trip is what “fam­ily” is all about.

Dis­cuss ex­pec­ta­tions and con­cerns with both of them. Even if you know that they’ve had sex, it’s not the same as shar­ing a bed over a week’s time.

Ask the girl sep­a­rately if she’s com­fort­able with that ar­range­ment. Ask your son if he can han­dle it with­out feel­ing awk­ward.

Tell both of them that you ex­pect them to join you for meals, spend time with his sis­ter, do ac­tiv­i­ties of­fered at the venue, etc.

Then call the girl’s mother and ask her if she ap­proves the plan. If not, he’ll have to ac­cept the week away with­out her.

Scream­ing tod­dler hard to deal with

Q. My apart­ment-build­ing neigh­bours of six months have a small child who’s con­stantly scream­ing, as are the par­ents. I’ve com­plained a cou­ple of times, but feel that noth­ing’s go­ing to be done about it.

I can hear their child from my bed­room with the door closed, though only my liv­ing room wall is next to their apart­ment.

I’ve de­bated ask­ing my land­lord to in­su­late my liv­ing room wall for sound (is that un­rea­son­able?) or move me to another floor with­out cost or rent in­crease.

I’ve told the par­ents in per­son that their child needs to cut the shrill scream­ing.

There are only two fam­i­lies with kids on my floor. They should con­sider who’s al­ready liv­ing here be­fore mov­ing fam­i­lies with small chil­dren onto the floor of an apart­ment.

I have to crank up my TV or I can­not hear any­thing over their child’s screams. The first three months I was only get­ting four hours of sleep.

I feel badly say­ing this, but I’d be happy if they evicted them, or at least moved them.

A. What a sad world we’d live in if par­ents with col­icky ba­bies and ex­u­ber­ant young­sters could be evicted on one neigh­bour’s com­plaint.

My dear friend had a son who was a “screamer.” It had to do with his “en­ergy,” his par­ents were told. He out­grew the scream­ing by age five, af­ter he first put on hockey skates and shot wildly across a rink.

He re­mained an ath­lete the rest of his too-short life, hav­ing died at 44, in a paraglid­ing ac­ci­dent. He was beloved by fam­ily and de­scribed as “the kind­est of hu­mans” by his paraglid­ing friends who said he was al­ways con­cerned about oth­ers’ safety.

Yes, dear reader, sleep­less nights are some­times dif­fi­cult to bear. Ear plugs and white-noise ma­chines can help, and in­su­la­tion, if pos­si­ble, seems a good idea.

Per­haps split­ting the in­su­lat­ing cost would be ac­cept­able to your land­lord and you.

About the scream­ing par­ents: The apart­ment land­lord should speak to them about any build­ing rules or lo­cal by­laws re­gard­ing their own noise and dis­tur­bances, which they can con­trol. Their scream­ing habit also af­fects their in­no­cent child.

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