Dear Amy: My wife and I are parents of four children under the age of 10.
Life during the pandemic has been a challenge for us, to say the least.
We have very close friends, “Roberta and Vincent.” We have spent quite a bit of time with them, and our children have become close.
Here is the rub: One of their children (“Steven,” age 7) is prone to breakdowns and meltdowns. He seems to demand to be the center of attention.
Steven is a nice, sweet boy, but it is hard to continue watching the same movie play out time and again with this young man.
Honestly, my 3-year-old seems much easier to be around.
As parents of four children, we understand how difficult it is to raise children.
We love our friends. We do not want to lose our friendship, but also have grown tired of the same antics from Steven.
What should we do? Should we say anything to the parents?
It seems like a delicate dance.
— Uncertain in Sacramento
Dear Uncertain: You and your wife are seasoned parents, very much in the thick of family life, but surely you know from raising your own children that each child has their own temperament.
If “Steven” is extremely sensitive, the noise and pandemonium of a large gathering of adults and multiple children may be too much for him to handle.
Just as your family has struggled through the pandemic, he has not had access to the familiar routines, services and support he might receive in school. He has missed a year of social growth, during a very important developmental phase of his life. And while your children might roll with the punches, he hasn’t mastered these skills.
You might ask these parents if there are ways you can help when Steven has a meltdown, or if there are things you and your family could do differently in order to avoid one.
I hope you will approach this challenging situation with patience and compassion toward everyone.
Dear Amy: I am absolutely distraught because my adult son refuses to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He thinks it’s a hoax and there is no convincing him otherwise.
He lives in another state. I haven’t seen him in a little over two years.
I am fully vaccinated. My daughter who lives far away is also vaccinated.
Her 3-year-old daughter is not yet eligible for the vaccine.
My son is traveling to the town where my daughter lives for a wedding.
She told him that she can’t see him unless he’s vaccinated.
I too have told my son that I cannot see him without him being vaccinated.
My health is just too compromised.
This is tearing me apart. My son is placing his misguided logic on me and is blaming me for not wanting to see him.
I love him and I know he loves me deeply as well.
I thought that if I told him I could only see him if he’s vaccinated, then he’d come around. It’s clear now that’s not going to happen.
I understand that he has the right to make his own choices. He’s educated and yet refuses to follow the science.
How can I get past this?
— Sad Mom
Dear Sad: You’ve gone round and round with your son and now you both know everything you need to know about where each of you stands.
Your attempts to control him have failed, and now he is blaming you for trying.
Stop discussing this with him. Your son lives far away, and you should assume that you will have to continue having a relationship with him from a distance, without the focus and pressure of seeing one another in person.
Perhaps as the pandemic continues to fade, you will be able to reassess your own risk regarding being in the presence of unvaccinated people, but until then, anchor to the fact that you love him and know that he loves you. Accept his limitations, and yours and make a choice to move forward.
Dear Amy: Wow, you really missed the mark to “Family Afterthought” who was having a milestone birthday on Thanksgiving this year and wanted to finally have a birthday and not share it with a holiday.
You suggested the person disregard their wishes again and celebrate the birthday after the holiday.
You are no more thoughtful than the family.
Dear Upset: I can’t make “Family Afterthought’s” family more thoughtful and kind.
My advice was geared toward urging this “afterthought” to find ways to cope with it.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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