Par­ent wants to check in on son’s re­li­gion

The Saline Courier - - OPINION -

“Congress shall make no law ... abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press ... . ”

— From the First Amend­ment to Con­sti­tu­tion

DEAR HARRIETTE: Dur­ing his first year of col­lege, my son joined a fra­ter­nity. I am con­cerned that what he went through dur­ing his pledg­ing process did not ad­here to his and our reli­gious ideals. I don’t want to con­trol his reli­gious iden­tity, but he tells me he is still Mus­lim, and I ex­pect him to live in ac­cor­dance with our faith.

How do I ask if my child still be­lieves in our re­li­gion, and what should I do if he doesn’t any­more? I would dis­agree with him but want to re­spect his choice. -- Re­li­gion in Col­lege

DEAR RE­LI­GION IN COL­LEGE: When your child gets to the point of col­lege, your prayer should be that you have laid the ground­work for him to make smart de­ci­sions based on the val­ues you have taught him and the de­ci­sion-mak­ing tools you have given him. Will he make mis­takes? With­out ques­tion. Should you still have some mea­sure of in­flu­ence over him? Yes, but now it is lim­ited. Your son needs to have space to make choices and live with them. I do not rec­om­mend that you query him about ev­ery sin­gle thing he does. In­stead, I sug­gest that you con­tinue to talk to him about val­ues and ask him to con­sider how he can be­come part of his col­lege com­mu­nity with­out los­ing those be­liefs.

The pledg­ing process for fra­ter­ni­ties and soror­i­ties has many “se­cret” com­po­nents. You may never learn all that he ex­pe­ri­enced, and hon­estly, that’s prob­a­bly for the best. Be­yond what has al­ready oc­curred, fo­cus on the fu­ture. En­cour­age your son to nav­i­gate his life keep­ing his reli­gious be­liefs in mind. Be aware that he will not be per­fect in his ef­forts to grow into adult­hood. If you think back on your own life, chances are, you made your share of mis­takes, too.

•••

DEAR HARRIETTE: My hus­band has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a midlife resur­gence of reg­u­lar ex­er­cise, and while that is ben­e­fi­cial to his phys­i­cal health, I’m con­cerned it is af­fect­ing his re­la­tion­ship with our son. He has been forc­ing our son to par­take in var­i­ous sports, and although my son is do­ing these ac­tiv­i­ties, he’s con­stantly com­plain­ing that he’s be­ing over­worked, hav­ing to bal­ance this reg­u­lar in­ten­sive ex­er­cise with his work. How can I go about me­di­at­ing this sit­u­a­tion? -- Over­worked

DEAR OVER­WORKED: Re­mind your hus­band that this surge in ex­er­cise is his pas­sion, not your son’s. Sug­gest that he give your son some time off from the rig­ors of ex­er­cis­ing so that he can have time for the other things that are im­por­tant to him. Ne­go­ti­ate a more rea­son­able amount of time per week that your son works out with him. Then make sure that your son shows up for the agreed-upon sched­ule.

The way you can make this less ag­o­niz­ing for your son is to give him some say in what he chooses to do with his dad. What does he en­joy that his father is now do­ing? He can choose that. Also, en­cour­age your son and your hus­band to use this time to­gether to talk about life and other top­ics that will help the two of them bond.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an ini­tia­tive to help peo­ple ac­cess and ac­ti­vate their dreams. You can send ques­tions to askhar­ri­[email protected]­ri­et­tecole.com or c/o An­drews Mcmeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

HARRIETTE COLE

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