My friend and I each have a son about the same age. My friend’s son is a spoiled brat. I love the idea of us all doing things together (as we are both single), but her son is really getting on my nerves. Can I discipline him?
Jacqueline says: His mother is the one who should address his behavior, but you do not have to put up with his behavior if it is geared toward you. If he says something to you that offends you, then correct him. His mother should get the hint.
Kerry says: I agree with Jackie; if he does something that’s directly offensive or annoying to you, then correct him. Otherwise, it’s not your place to discipline him.
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I saw a blog about how parents could tell that their son was gay by looking at a snapshot of him — how he stood, hands on hips, hand gestures, etc. My 6-year-old son poses girly, like his sisters, in pictures. Should I suspect something?
Jacqueline says: I wouldn’t jump to conclusions just yet. Many times, children copy their older siblings’ behavior. In time, if your son determines he is gay, I would hope that you will accept him for who he is.
Kerry says: There’s no point in getting yourself all riled up since there’s nothing you can do. Instead, prepare yourself to accept and love him no matter what.
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I’m a dad with a male partner. My son is about to enter the fifth grade, and I’m terrified that he is going to be ridiculed because he has “two dads.” He’s so sweet, I doubt he would tell us and hurt our feelings. What can I do?
Jacqueline says: Good communication with your son is key, so it is important that you talk to him. Make sure he knows how much you love him, because love will give him strength. Give him the benefit of the doubt — maybe he can handle this with ease!
Kerry says: Kids can be cruel. Explain to your son that he might face some ridicule, but he should learn to shrug it off. The best thing you can do in the meantime is to help build his confidence and self-esteem by teaching him self-love, as it is how he carries himself that will mostly dictate how the other children will respond to him. And if he’s self-confident, the other kids will respect him. The kids will accept him for who he is and will be over the fact that he has two fathers.
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I’m having a wedding and have my seven bridesmaids all wearing purple dresses. One is gay and feels uncomfortable in a skirt and has asked to wear a purple pantsuit. I really am uncomfortable with this, as I want my wedding picture to look nice with all the women in dresses. What should I do?
Jacqueline says: Really? Don’t you have enough to worry about? What she wears won’t impede on you wedding either way, so stop being so shallow and let her be who she is. Focus on more important matters of the wedding.
Kerry says: I disagree with Jackie completely. I would explain to her that you’re looking forward to traditional bridesmaids in uniform dresses and ask her to please make an exception for the ceremony. Then, afterwards if she wants to change, you would be more than happy to accommodate her. If she’s that irrational and uptight as to not want to wear a dress for, at tops, a two-hour ceremony, then drop her as a bridesmaid. It is YOUR wedding, and you’ll be looking at those wedding pictures for the rest of your life.
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My daughter is 7. She is a great kid, except sometimes she throws these incredible temper tantrums. They embarrass me because people always stare at me when I try to handle it, which is me yelling at her; her getting more upset; and me eventually giving in. Please help!
Jacqueline says: You’re killing me. There is no negotiating with a 7 year old. You are the boss. You needn’t say a word. Walk away. Don’t indulge in her nonsense. Show her that you could care less. She will exhaust in five minutes (it takes energy to scream). She will eventually realize that temper tantrums don’t work with you.
Kerry says: I’m not sure I totally agree with Jackie. I think kids need “time out” when they act up. I would deal with her in terms of punishments and rewards. Thus, if she misbehaves, she should be punished. Conversely, if she is good, she should be rewarded. The idea is to associate bad behavior with punishment, and good behavior with rewards. Don’t renege on your punishments; there is no negotiating. Additionally, be consistent. Check to see if you are giving her mixed messages. Is her behavior viewed as good one day and bad the other? The key here is consistency.