My daughter is nine. She switched schools this year and has been successful at making new friends. The girls are all sweet and kind, and I’m happy for my daughter.
I haven’t met a lot of the moms yet for various reasons, but whenever my daughter goes to a friend’s, they seem very nice and accommodating and happy to have her over. We’ve had some of the girls over to our house as well.
But there is one mom who seems overly interested in my daughter, and I’m uncomfortable. During the Thanksgiving holiday, we went to visit family in another province. This woman made my daughter a travel package including candy, a book and a letter from her. The letter wasn’t overly friendly, but the whole thing was strange.
And the other day, the girls were on their iPads Facetiming and doing homework. Next thing I know, the mom has taken her daughter’s iPad and is chatting with my daughter. Again, she wasn’t saying anything strange, but my daughter didn’t want to talk to her. She wanted to do her homework with her friend.
How do I get this woman to back off from my daughter? It’s getting very uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, I think you have to monitor the situation. I say unfortunately because no one wants to be a helicopter parent. But in this case, it’s in your daughter’s best interest.
Assuming the best of people, perhaps this woman knows what it’s like to be the new kid and wants to do everything she can to help your daughter feel comfortable. A care package is sweet; chatting on the phone is friendly.
Let it go, but watch closely. If it continues, you may have to intervene. She may not realize she’s coming on too strong and will back off as soon as you ask.
Let’s hope for the best.
FEEDBACK Regarding the son-in-law uncomfortable with his new step-father-in-law (Nov. 7):
Reader – “I just read your advice to the son-in-law who wants to involve himself in his wife's mother's marriage. I do believe this is a first in my long life to date: reading an advice columnist advising a spouse to take on not just an in-law, but an in-law's spouse - and a mother-in-law's spouse at that.
“Your correspondent spoke highly of his mother-in-law's competence, and did not say that his wife is in a coma or otherwise incapacitated. His only conceivable role is in supporting his wife (behind closed doors) in doing or not doing whatever she sees fit.
“A son-in-law calling a family meeting to discuss a legally competent in-law's spouse? On what planet?”
Lisi – Your comments made me laugh out loud. Clearly you disagree with me, and that’s OK. Normally, I would not suggest a son-in-law get involved with either of his in-laws if his wife, the daughter, didn’t approve. But in this case, I gave two options. I suggested that it may just be his problem, and he’ll have to figure out how to deal with it. But if other family members were also concerned, they should have a family discussion. My take was that the letter writer felt the new husband was simply in it for the money.
FEEDBACK Regarding the girl who came home changed from camp (Oct. 18):
Reader – “If she did have an unpleasant experience at camp, it needn’t have been sexual. She may have endured a “mean girls” situation, i.e., been mocked, excluded or bullied. And perhaps by kids she regarded as friends. That would be devastating in a camp situation since one can’t get away from one’s tormentors.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman afraid of the puppy her husband brought home (Oct. 17):
Reader – “Can I suggest another opinion? Perhaps she just doesn’t like dogs, and saying she’s afraid is a more socially acceptable excuse. Nowadays it is considered almost sacrilegious to say you don’t like dogs.
“For some, a dog is just not appealing. Dogs chew things, shed fur, pee all over, jump on people, can be smelly and require lots of hands-on daily care. It’s not for everyone, and it should be OK for someone to say they just don’t care for dogs. Maybe that’s why this woman doesn’t want the puppy, but fears she’ll be judged harshly by saying that.
“If the family wanted a pet snake but Mom objected, would you suggest she get counselling? Or is it OK to not want a snake? I feel sorry for her that she has to have an animal in her house that she clearly doesn’t want.”