Sense & Sensitivity
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.