The Hamilton Spectator

Talk to child’s parents about sleepover plan

- ADVICE LISI TESHER ELLIE TESHER AND LISI TESHER ARE ADVICE COLUMNISTS FOR THE STAR AND BASED IN TORONTO. SEND YOUR RELATIONSH­IP QUESTIONS VIA EMAIL: ELLIE@THESTAR.CA OR LISI@THESTAR.CA.

Q My nine-year-old son has just informed me he has a girlfriend and he’d like her to sleep over. There is nothing sexual going on here; they are both innocents and far from puberty. They are also the eldest in their families, so haven’t been exposed to older siblings and their lives. I’m not concerned about anything untoward happening. My issue is knowing when a sleepover with someone of the opposite sex becomes something not allowed because of sexual behaviour. Growing up, we weren’t allowed anyone of the opposite gender in our bedrooms, ever. I wasn’t even allowed to enter my sister’s room without her consent and the door open, and vice versa. My wife and I are less gender concerned. Our children, a boy and a girl, have always had friends of both those genders, and we treat them all equally. But they’re all still single digits young.

New Age Dad

A Growing up, we had a more open-door household, but that same rule applied when we hit the teenage years. No one of the opposite sex (only two were openly discussed back then) was allowed in your bedroom.

But it didn’t cause a problem, and I see it with my own nieces and nephews, because as kids tend to hit puberty, often those close friendship­s change. For example, as the boys start hanging out more together as a group, their friendship­s with girls tend to wane.

In your particular situation, I think you should talk to the parents of your son’s girlfriend and see how they feel. And probably, to err on the side of caution, the kids should sleep in different beds and keep the door open at all times. If they really are as innocent as you believe, none of this will phase them. Q A good friend of mine got married a few years ago to a woman not many of our friendgrou­p “approved” of. She’s just not our kind of people. She was totally disinteres­ted in meeting any of us, and when we did meet her, she was anything but warm and fuzzy.

We go out at least once a month, just the guys, and at least once a month with our significan­t others. He was the first to marry but not the first to be engaged. Now two more couples are married, one more engaged, one guy is recently single, and one guy has a new girlfriend. As a group, we are very warm and welcoming to everyone.

Since he’s been with this woman he misses more outings than he attends, and she probably comes to one a year. Now they’ve just had a baby and we are thrilled for him! But she won’t let any of us come over to meet the little guy. They had a quiet, supposedly family-only, baby welcoming event which none of us were invited to. But then we heard her two besties were there with their partners.

How can we get our friend back?

Isolated out

A Be patient, understand­ing, forgiving and yourselves. Feel badly for your friend because he sounds browbeaten by this woman. Make sure he knows that you guys are there for him no matter when, and that he is ALWAYS welcome and included in everything you do.

He’s either happy and will break away from you completely, or he’ll finally have enough of her rules and break free. He’ll need you then.

Feedback Regarding the cousin whose extended family won’t speak to her after she missed their mother’s last dying days and subsequent funeral (Dec. 18):

Reader “I just read the recent letter from the above, and it broke my heart. We lost our daughter a year and a half ago to a fast-growing cancer. Our family, too, was devastated as she had young children.

“However, I have learned that part of grief is an absolute anger, bordering on rage some days. We need to blame someone for this tragic loss. We need somewhere to place all these awful emotions. The need to lash out at anyone for the smallest (or largest) slight. I know this too well.

“Thankfully rage is a temporary space, and my sincere hope is the family will move through that space, and they will reunite.”

Sad Mom

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada