The Washington Post

Par­ents have dif­fer­ent re­ac­tions to their daugh­ters’ bumps and bruises

- Wash­ing­ton­post.com/ad­vice. askamy@amy­dick­in­son.com @ask­ingamy. Family · Parenting · Chicago · New York · Amy Dickinson · Freeville, New York

Dear Amy: This sounds dumb, but my hus­band and I have got­ten into a few heated ar­gu­ments about giv­ing our young daugh­ters ice packs for their lit­tle scrapes and bumps.

Our older daugh­ter is 6 years old. Our younger is 18 months old. When they have a mi­nor bump or in­jury, I will give them (or ask them if they want to go get) a small gel ice pack from the freezer.

My think­ing is, even if it’s a very mi­nor bump, it shows them that I see they are in pain or up­set, and it gives them some­thing tan­gi­ble to do about it. Plus, some­times it’s nec­es­sary (al­though not al­ways).

I think in time, they will be able to de­ter­mine, “No, that was a small bump and I am fine,” which my older daugh­ter has oc­ca­sion­ally done.

My hus­band says this is ridicu­lous. He says it’s baby­ing them and teach­ing them to be wimps, and it’s con­tribut­ing to the “wus­si­fi­ca­tion” of Amer­ica.

I dis­agree and think it is teach­ing them to care for them­selves. I’d love to know what you think. Frozen

Frozen: When our chil­dren were young and got a lit­tle scrape or bump, my older sis­ter would al­ways ask: “Do you need a wet wash­cloth?” The child could then fold the cloth like a ban­dage and hold it over their lit­tle in­jury un­til they felt bet­ter.

This wash­cloth tech­nique also seemed to work if a child was un­in­jured, but up­set. A cool wet cloth pressed on the fore­head seemed to both com­fort and re­di­rect the child.

I’m in your camp — es­pe­cially if the child can get her own ice pack.

Ten­der ges­tures are an im­por­tant part of par­ent­ing, and it is dur­ing th­ese com­fort ses­sions when a young child can feel supremely loved. It is too bad that your daugh­ters are not re­ceiv­ing this sort of ten­der­ness from their fa­ther, be­cause young chil­dren who are promptly and ap­pro­pri­ately com­forted grow to be se­cure and trust­ing in their re­la­tion­ships — and there­fore don’t seek con­stant com­fort­ing.

Fa­thers also have a spe­cial role with their daugh­ters be­cause they are mod­el­ing be­hav­ior the child may seek (or seek to avoid) in a fu­ture part­ner.

Yes — there are also def­i­nitely times when a par­ent can/should say, “Dry your eyes; you’re fine.” There are so many ways to in­still self-suf­fi­ciency in chil­dren, but with­hold­ing com­fort is not one of them.

Be­cause you and your hus­band seem to be at op­po­site ends of the com­fort spec­trum, you should try for a com­pro­mise. Chal­lenge your hus­band: “If you can try to soften your par­ent­ing by 25 per­cent, I’ll try to toughen my par­ent­ing by 25 per­cent.”

Dear Amy: My col­leagues and I de­cided to ask you about a prob­lem that’s re­cently de­vel­oped.

Our of­fice is on the sev­enth floor of a down­town build­ing. Two streets away is a re­cently com­pleted apart­ment com­plex with a pent­house level, fea­tur­ing two apartments with floor to ceil­ing win­dows. One apart­ment al­ways has the shades fully up. The res­i­dent rou­tinely walks around dur­ing of­fice hours naked, or in a bra and un­der­wear.

To­day she walked onto her bal­cony un­dressed. The apart­ment is ex­actly in our line of sight (par­tic­u­larly in my of­fice), and it’s im­pos­si­ble not to no­tice. This may seem funny or tit­il­lat­ing to some, but we find this very dis­tract­ing and un­wel­come.

What is the best course of ac­tion? Email the man­age­ment com­pany? Stop by the lobby and say some­thing to the front desk per­son? Maybe she doesn’t re­al­ize just how vis­i­ble she is?

Eyes Burn­ing

Eyes Burn­ing: I faced a sim­i­lar si­t­u­a­tion when I moved into a new apart­ment in Chicago. I walked to the other build­ing and asked the door­man to no­tify the per­son in the apart­ment that we could see di­rectly into her home. He said he would tell the res­i­dent, but could not guar­an­tee that she would do any­thing dif­fer­ently (she didn’t). Mainly I kept my own shades drawn.

I sug­gest you no­tify the build­ing man­ager. Be­cause your build­ings are blocks apart (and her build­ing is new), there is a pos­si­bil­ity that the res­i­dent isn’t aware that she can be seen dur­ing the day­time by an of­fice full of peo­ple.

Dear Amy: I am so dis­ap­pointed and dis­gusted that you would pub­lish a ques­tion about an “open mar­riage” be­tween three guys (“Some­times a Teenager”).

It is wrong on so many ac­counts. Are you that des­per­ate for a story? Linda

Linda: Peo­ple be­have in all sorts of con­found­ing ways. I see this col­umn as a way to high­light the hu­man story.

Amy’s col­umn ap­pears seven days a week at

Write to or Amy Dickinson, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, N.Y. 13068. You can also fol­low her

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