My husband and I have two pre-adolescent sons.
We differ about how much touching is alright with your children.
I grew up in a family with lots of touching (hugs, arms around the shoulders, and holding hands).
In his family, there isn't much touching, or expressing emotions, nor any hugs at all.
He made a rule that there’s no sitting on laps after age 10, and I agreed.
However, he gets angry if we touch (i.e. sitting next to each other on a couch, comparing foot size, tickle wrestling, or rubbing their backs while reading).
He feels that these contacts will cause the boys to become effeminate and weak.
He doesn't think that this will "make them gay,” neither of us believe that being homosexual is a choice.
He also gets angry if the oldest speaks in baby talk.
I feel that these behaviours are things that the boys will naturally grow out of and find a level of touching with which they’re comfortable.
I’ve read that touching is healthy and produces positive neurochemicals.
I’ve seen preteens and teenagers gravitate towards immature behaviour, and it just seems they’re trying to find their way towards maturity - two steps forward and a step back.
I don't want to do anything that might "mess up" my boys.
Divided on Touching
Your husband cannot help that his upbringing lacked physical affection, but he can and should clear his head from unfounded, emotion-stifling fears, as an adult and father.
His concern about raising “effeminate” sons is coded homophobia, with which he can pass on unhealthy anxieties to your sons.
Most pre- and adolescent boys find their own level of comfort with non-sexual touching and being touched, on their own.
Young boys who’ve gone through early grades together, may be casual about touch and hugs until they hit puberty, when they become self-conscious. They’ll even stop hugging their mom in public.
Despite your husband’s overreaction to some ways of touching – e.g. how often does comparing foot size even happen? – the fact that you two show emotion differently, provides some balance.
Mom likes to hug, Dad doesn’t, no big problem. UNLESS, he keeps coming up with rules for every possibility (teammates’ shoulder bump, a pat on the back, etc.).
For your own comfort, do the research through a bona fide psychology website.
I believe you’ll find that the feel-good neurochemicals that result from non-sexual human contact will outweigh any risks of turning boys into sissies and Mama’s boys.
My mom recently told me that she and my dad haven't spoken for a couple of months; they've been having communication issues.
When asked if she was happy, she pointed to her pets and her grand-daughter, who make her happy.
She said they can't divorce because they own a very successful farming operation, with considerable assets that would be difficult to split.
I'm worried that she might feel trapped in a relationship she no longer wants. How can I help her?
Listen. She wanted to share her situation, with the one person she can talk to.
But she’s made her decision, for now.
Married business partners have split in the past, it’s not impossible, and there’s clearly enough finances that she could manage without him.
However, perhaps she’d prefer that they work out their problems.
Suggest she go for counselling on her own, to get help looking at why their communication difficulties have gone this far.
It’ll also give her the chance to take a look at her choices.
Our son and his then-fiancée, each owned their own place.
So they didn’t register for wedding gifts but requested cash donations for their honeymoon, on the invitations.
Our closest friend privately told my wife she was offended by the request.
We were both so upset that I uninvited her and her husband (my best friend) from the wedding.
We haven’t spoken since; my wife doesn’t want to see them.
Was my son’s request so wrong? Are we overreacting? Should our friend just have given a gift anyways?
Requesting gifts of money isn’t unusual today.
But some guests find the stated request off-putting. Or, they want to give something more lasting than honeymoon cash. Also, the amount given is immediately visible.
Your friend could’ve given a gift anyway. She needn’t have made your wife so uncomfortable. But you both also overreacted.
Call your “best friend” and say so.
Tip of the day:
Raising healthy well-adjusted children requires encouragement and love, not fears about non-sexual touch.