418

I would strongly suggest some couple therapy before you bring a child into this situation. I worked in a therapy clinic and saw the outcome of overbearing/unreasonable mothering (and fathering). Your wife needs to confront her own issues before she tries re-wiring a child to fit her agenda.


283

Perhaps I have some expertise on this, as someone who has raised one straight and two queer children... You don't get to decide that. She doesn't either. Yes, you can indeed try not to overly gender your kids as you are raising them. But that has little if any impact on who they are. Their personality and identity will assert itself very early. For strong ...


161

I was 19 and ran off with a 27 year old woman from America. (I'm British and she is American). My mother disowned me and we didn't speak for a year. My relationship with my wife lasted 16 years and produced 3 lovely children. So I could never say 'it was a mistake'. But. I was reckless and foolish and as an adult 20 years later I can easily recognize this....


127

You are clearly very loving and supportive of your step-child. This is a great gift you are giving to her. However, it doesn't sound like you have that kind of a relationship with your girlfriend. Your girlfriend's child only came out to her 5 days ago. For 14 years, her child has been her son. She has imagined a life far into the future with and for her ...


112

This is a situation in which you cannot change your son's behavior; you need to either adjust your expectations (i.e. change yourself, the only person you really have control over), or let him suffer the consequences of his bad behavior (i.e. ask him to respect his agreement or to leave.) You have struggled with your son's attitude for a long time. He's an ...


112

I lived in a family which was fairly restrictive. They were quite religious, we always ate healthy, never any junk food, all our activities were vetted and scrutinized. It was also emotionally repressive; my father had a very bad temper and would strike us whenever he was angry. When I got out, went to college, got a job (like you, in the IT industry), I ...


97

There's a difference between why a child does/should/should not address their parent(s) by their first name, and how to explain it to a child. The why is important when discussing the "why not" to the child. An older child might do so because of emotional distance from their parent, because of egalitarian reasons, or both. Family culture is also important. ...


94

First up; your parents can protest and disallow it all they want, you're an adult and there is nothing they can really do to stop you from marrying whomever you want and living wherever you want. So if you're afraid your parents will say "no," remember that their opinion of your marriage is, in the end, not an actual barrier. For the same reason, you don't ...


72

Is my wife overreacting or am I wrong here? I don't think you're wrong. It seems reasonable - even admirable - to raise a child encouraging any beneficial interests they have regardless of gender-stereotype. (I say beneficial because some interests are not, e.g. an interest in experimenting with drugs during early adolescence.) If your wife truly wants a ...


72

Pregnancy and how it affects the mother is an intense stew of physical and hormonal changes. Each child may come with a different "stew" recipe. Sounds like the father of her original child didn't stick around, so maybe there's some sub-conscious anxiety as this brings back memories and feelings that preceded that event/issue, as well. In any case, how she'...


68

I think your instincts of jealousy are spot-on. My daughter did this starting when her little brother arrived home from the hospital, and every time she felt like he was getting more of Mama's attention, out came the verbal knives. Our fix was to schedule special one-on-one time with her when we could. And when things were just too crazy to carve very ...


67

I don't know what to do, do I let them get on with it or should I try to explain my above concerns at the risk of pushing them together? Why not do both? It's natural to be concerned. You might also be concerned if he were 17, given that what you are afraid of (her getting hurt, pregnant, or growing up too quickly, or him being with her just for one reason)...


64

When we are confronted with a situation in our lives where what we believe doesn't match up to how we're living, we have two choices: Change our beliefs or change our actions. I think I know that tightness in your chest, and when I've experienced it, it's when what I am is not what I want to be. Other posters have suggested the latter. Get out for sure, ...


61

How do I best protect Emily ... from the bullying she's experiencing from [her mother]? You are in a tricky situation. It's very likely that you will lose your girlfriend and Emily over this issue if you do not somehow figure out how to support both parent and child. Given that you are not Emily's father, nor her mother's husband, you have absolutely no ...


61

Be supportive. Be there for him. And be willing to just listen. He doesn't need you to fix it for him (not like you could anyway). He just needs someone to talk to and be supportive. Listen first. And only give advice once he's asked / stopped talking. Let him do most of the talking. Only he can really get over it. It will just be easier if he ...


55

I'm going to focus on this one thing that you said, because it's one of the only things you said about what you want, as opposed to all the stuff you are experiencing that you don't want: I want to be important and powerful and change the world. Well, I have good news and bad news about that. First the bad news. I'm going to be brutally honest here. ...


55

I really like everything about Erik's answer. The only things I would add is that you have time. If the relationship is right, time will not harm it. Take your time, finish your education and let her finish hers. Next time she is visiting you in your home, start by asking your parents what you can do to make the visit better. Perhaps she felt awkward ...


51

You can no longer micromanage your son's activity You have probably noticed that your can't control your son's actions by force or persuasion anymore, if you ever could. He's old enough now to be self directed, which is scary. The only thing you can do is to give him a moral framework in which to live. Provide a credible moral framework Can you explain to ...


51

First of all, the "how should I handle this" depends a lot on what your own concerns are. Is your concern the "cousin" part? or the "two 14 year olds" part? If the latter, is it specific aspect (are they mature enough to consistently use birth control?) or just general age-readiness for sex as a concept? Once you sort out your concerns, the main and best ...


50

How do I deal with the situation? How do I discipline her? I think a lot of people are equating "discipline" to "punishment", when that isn't necessarily the case. Unfortunately your question doesn't tell us much about your values or parenting style, so I can only provide a few comments and possible directions you might go in. Summary ...


50

I have never posted on this exchange before - but I read this and couldn't help myself. Let me first say I have no background in parenting other than raising my 2 children. I have read no parenting books nor think I am the best parent in the world. If I was in your situation I would kick him out. Simple and plain. He is an adult and you are no longer ...


47

This is actually a pretty common problem. Basically, it boils down to you starting to stand on your own but your parents not liking some of the decisions you've made. They feel that you still need their guidance and protection and you feel that you don't. It's a struggle that pretty much everyone goes through at some point. Everyone's situation is different, ...


47

Several answers already, but I want to address a couple of your concerns. You are worried about your daughter missing opportunities (travelling, studies). I started dating my wife when she was barely 17, and I was 28. We married two years later, and had our first daughter 9 months after we married, with my wife still 19. That was 20 years ago, so I can ...


43

Oh dear, this is going to end up in tears. First you need understanding, then you can argue. I would suggest to discuss with your wife the mass of documentation (articles, social media posts, surveys, etc.) about how parents have tried (and failed) to force "normal" sexuality on their homosexual offspring. Please understand: I don't intend for you to ...


43

I'm going to take a slightly stronger position than most of the other people here. I'm keeping in mind the policy to be nice and simply objectively describing the seriousness of the situation. There are two enormous red flags that it could be extremely unwise to have a child with this person (at least while she has these desires). You need more info about ...


42

You're twenty and you're trying to cement rocky relations between your parents and your long-distance girlfriend. Admittedly it's not an easy task, even at my stage of life. First of all, there are some realities you must attend to,young friend. (I have a Grand-daughter your age, so I get to say "young" :) You are living with your parents, yes ? They have ...


40

Your son is nearly sixteen, and that means he's clearly beyond the point where you can 'make' him do things - and it seems like you agree based on your question. So what that means, to me, is the important thing is to help him understand the consequences of his actions. Teenagers are of ten able to make good choices when they understand the full ...


40

This is a fantastic question. You are wonderful for your level of consideration given a perplexing situation here. The Problem: I used to be Emily. It's over 25 years later, and this thing just doesn't really go away. At 14 you already knew at 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13, every day. Yes, Emily thinks about this at least as often as any teenage ...


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