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My kids’ dinner request is leaving me feeling judged. A lot of people give me a hard time because I make my kids their favorite, elbow macaroni in tomato soup. That doesn’t mean I’m an unfit mother, does it?
As long as they don’t eat it for every meal, you’re in the clear. Yes, we should feed our kids nutritious food. But even the healthiest of diners don’t generally eat such fare as poached egg white, organic salad, and homemade multigrain granola with every meal.
For some us, pizza and ice cream are the big weaknesses. For your kids, it’s noodles in tomato soup. From a nutrition standpoint, you could do a lot worse. But if you want to make the meal healthier, switch to whole-grain pasta and use a low-sodium soup.
My daughter is 16 and she’s dating a 28-year old guy, I don’t know what to do.
I called the police, and they refused to do anything because the age of consent is 16 in Arkansas. I told her I don’t think she should be seeing him. She doesn’t listen and sneaks out to see him. She says she’s in love with him and he loves her and to keep out of her business. She’s my only little girl and I feel worried. She’s very smart but for whatever reason she’s turned very rebellious! I’m not sure what to do, advice?
You have no legal recourse here. The police are right about the age of consent, and legally, your daughter can indeed have an intimate relationship with a man of any age. However, that does not consign you to sitting helplessly by while the girl consorts with a man 12 years her senior.
As long as your daughter lives in your house, she must live by your rules. This is less a legal than a practical prerogative, but as the owner of the house and the provider of the girl’s needs, you do have some leverage.
I’ll assume you have tried to explain to your daughter about the transience of relationships for people so young, and how sexual activity can lead to unwanted pregnancies or diseases. Once a 16-year-old gets it in her (or his) head that a relationship is OK because they are in love, you will probably have little success appealing to the child via logic. In that case, you must use a different weapon – denial of privileges.
Your daughter’s willingness to sneak out tells us two things. First, grounding her won’t help. Second, you’ve never made the consequences for sneaking out onerous enough to convince the girl not to do it. Address the second problem, and you’ve fixed the first as well.
You know your daughter better than I do. What does she value? What would she miss if it was gone? What does she depend on you to provide? Answer those questions, and you have your answer to the larger problem. Whether it’s a cell phone or spending money or even something as simple as a lift to work, let your daughter know that you’re willing to restrict her privileges in other areas if she won’t stop seeing this older man.
I can’t guarantee this strategy will work – it depends on your daughter’s stubbornness and self-sufficiency, and on the level of commitment the man in question has to their relationship. If he is willing to spend to provide the services you withdraw, your job gets much harder. But your best strategy for changing her conduct is to provide her with reasons to stop other than the fact that you don’t want her to remain involved with the guy.
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