Sense & Sen­si­tiv­ity

The Standard Journal - - Entertainment - Comics - By HAR­RI­ETTE COLE NEA Colum­nist

DEAR HAR­RI­ETTE: My daugh­ter, who is in the fifth grade, has two suit­ors. No, I’m not kid­ding. She came home to tell me how un­com­fort­able she was be­cause she wasn’t sure how to talk to both boys at the same time. They were all at a birth­day party re­cently, and the boys were vy­ing for her at­ten­tion. She says it was fun, but also a lit­tle weird, be­cause she likes one boy but doesn’t want to hurt the other one’s feel­ings. I felt so happy that she came to me with this sit­u­a­tion. I want to be able to help her, but I also know that she has to teach her­self how to han­dle boys’ at­ten­tion. What should I tell her? -- Grow­ing Up, Bal­ti­more

DEAR GROW­ING UP: Wel­come to the won­der­ful world of dat­ing -- well, more ac­cu­rately, wel­come to the world of at­trac­tion. While you can­not give your daugh­ter a pre­scrip­tion for how to nav­i­gate these two boys as they talk to her, you can give your guid­ance. First, let her know that it is very nice that the boys find her in­ter­est­ing. She should con­sider that a pos­i­tive. She should re­mem­ber to treat them, and oth­ers, as she would like to be treated. That may mean pay­ing at­ten­tion when one is talk­ing to her, re­spond­ing to ques­tions when asked, par­tic­i­pat­ing in di­a­logue -- ba­si­cally be­ing present. When one boy in­ter­rupts an­other, she can at­tempt to man­age that by say­ing, “Hold on, let X fin­ish what he was say­ing.” Then she can turn to the other af­ter he is fin­ished. Let her know that it is much eas­ier to com­mu­ni­cate one-onone with boys, es­pe­cially when they are at­tracted to her. Fi­nally, she should be mind­ful not to ig­nore the one she does not fa­vor. Re­main cor­dial to ev­ery­one. They can still be friends.

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