Family friends have a child, 10; the parents argue constantly, loudly; everything is a power and control struggle between them.
Their child is understandably upset and sometimes yells at them to be quiet or pleads that they listen to her. We think she’s crying out for unity and attention.
How can we help them understand the damage not just to themselves, but also to their child?
We’ve all raised teenagers and fear this child will seek attention the wrong way as the temptations for teens include sex, alcohol, drugs, impaired driving etc.
The family does a lot of activities together and the child is in many activities supported by both parents. Yet we fear this may not be enough, given the focus on control and power.
How can we help?
- For a Special Child
Walk a careful, sensitive line here – you want to offer a positive influence on both the parents and the child, without intruding and risking being rejected.
Be attentive and supportive to the child, and demonstrate by example how other people can disagree or make decisions without a power play.
With the parents, show interest rather than know-it-all attitude about the challenges of raising adolescents and teens. Offer to share a good parenting book on the subject, and gently introduce your ideas on how children express a cry for understanding and family peace.
· See my web site www.ellieadvice.com for Resources on raising adolescents and teens.
I’m a mature woman with a wide circle of friends; my closest friend recently organized by email a last-minute day event. My computer was down, I didn’t receive the invite until the group left.
Later, she said she missed me and thought she disappointed me. I said I was disappointed she didn’t phone me when I didn’t respond to email.
This followed another event I missed because she didn’t speak up for my inclusion. (The others thought I was busy. She knew differently.)
I’m annoyed with myself for needing to feel wanted, and hurt that my best friend wouldn’t not consider me.
I’ve been plagued with severe health issues, both for myself and spouse, and perhaps am more vulnerable and emotional.
She’s been very supportive in many ways. So I don't understand the inconsistent messages about our friendship.
When I told her I was again hurt by her inaction, she became defensive and too upset to discuss it. So we’re at an impasse.
Your “best friend” may be trying to shield you from something she doesn’t want to express (read on)… but by leaving you out of group events, she’s not acting as a close friend should.
It may be that your current stresses from your spouse’s and your own health issues have affected your sociability. That’s only my guess, but do consider whether there’s a reason such as that, behind her “exclusions.” Then, ask her, in a non-blaming way.
The fact she’s been so supportive balances her recent behaviour, and tells me it’s worthwhile to try to have a frank talk without accusing her of purposefully hurting you.
The etiquette books say a “Maid of Honour” is supposed to perform all kinds of tasks for the bride, but my sister chose ME – a corporate lawyer with no free time!
What’s the minimum I must do?
- Already Stressed
Discuss openly what you CAN manage. Ease stress on both of you by giving up a few of your official vacation days for pre-wedding events and the big day.
I may be giving up my best friend because I fell in love with her.
She’s always been straight about not dating, but you get so close to somebody and things change – we were pals, then one day, POW!
I’ve told her how I feel but she says she doesn’t date at all.
She’s sometimes fed me, but also told me her cat was used to being man of the house.
Have I been getting my messages wrong, or am I crazy?
- Lost in Chicago
You heard her messages, yet let your emotions ignore them. She’s been very clear (feeding someone is often part of a friendship, not just of dating.
Whether she’s scared of a relationship, or just not in love with you, it’d be a mistake to pursue her further.
Stay good, nourishing pals, if possible; but only if you can stay cool, without building unrealistic expectations.
Tip of the day:
Stay close and supportive to children on whom you can have a positive influence.