My child just came out as gay

Dear Sara,

My sixteen year old son has told me that he is gay. I’m OK with this. I think that everybody has the right to be who they are. The problem is that he wants to have his gay friends for overnight visits. I would never have let his eighteen year old sister have her boyfriend over when she was sixteen ( or even now.) I realize there are different issues here (my son can’t get pregnant) but I am not at all comfortable with this. How should I handle this?


Dear Olivia,

You have certain values that you grew up with. These are an integral part of you. If you are not comfortable it’s OK to say “no.” Your son will just have to accept and understand how you feel. Have a talk with him and explain how uncomfortable this would make you. He may not like your rules but this is often the case between parent and child.


How can I get my two year old son to eat more healthy foods?

Dear Sara,

I am really worried about my two year old son. He hardly eats anything at all. He seems to have lots of energy and runs from one thing to another but I can’t get him to eat anything. He will eat sweets and junk food but I don’t think this is good for him. His pediatrician says that he is healthy and not to worry but I just can’t help it. How can I get him to eat?


Dear Audrey,

You definitely have the right idea in not giving your son junk food. These things might put weight on him but it’s not going to be healthy for him to get used to eating like that.

Sometimes kids at his age will limit themselves to a few things that they like. Don’t expect him to like everything or expect him to eat as much as you do. He’s a lot smaller. Offer him a choice of healthy foods and let him choose and if you don’t think he’s getting enough nutrition add some vitamins. As long as he is active and healthy he will be better of growing up thin.

You could cause more problems by focusing too much on how much your son eats. If he’s hungry he will eat. Trust his pediatrician and try to relax your vigilance a bit.


Dear Sara, My Daughter is Overweight…

Dear Sara

I have a 4 year old daughter, Nicole, who is overweight.  I would like to help her now, before it gets out of hand.

Jennie in Gary Ind.

[Read more...]

My Married Life is Awful

Dear Sara,

My life is a mess. I’ve been married ten years and we are financially well off, live in a nice house and our two kids go to private school. The problem is my husband. He drinks all the time, often doesn’t come home for dinner and has had numerous affairs. I don’t think I can put up with his behavior much longer but I’m afraid of how a divorce will effect my children. Which is worse? A divorce or living in a home with a father who seems totally self centered and making me miserable?


Dear Laura,

Living in a home with an alcoholic is very difficult especially for children who have no control of things. There is chaos around them and I’m sure that your anger and possibly depression has been difficult for them to deal with as well.

Before you make any decision why don’t you try some family therapy? Your husband may not want to attend but your children might be able to express their feelings and give you an idea of what they want their lives to be like. This way you won’t be making your decision by yourself and will be able to see the effect you and your husband are having on them.


My Daughter Has Gutter Language

Dear Sara,

I have a problem with my teen daughter. I have heard her using some language that I call “gutter language.” Mostly I overhear it when she talks to her friends on her phone. I have tried to talk to her about this and she said everybody talks this way. I let her know that she could not talk this way in my house and if she did there would be consequences. I don’t know how to get across to her how vulgar this sounds. Is there any way to get her to stop using this language?


Dear Maggie,

Teens often justify their behavior by saying “everybody does it.” At this point in her life your daughter will identify more with her peer group than with her family. It’s all part of growing up and moving on.

This language probably seems cool to her peer group. The problem with this is that it becomes a habit and often comes out at the wrong time. Explain to her that when she gets a job and wants to impress people who can promote and help her, she will be judged by the way she speaks. All you can do is try to explain the consequences of sounding common and uneducated. I hope she “gets it.”


I Don’t Like my Son’s Older Girlfriend

Dear Sara,

My eighteen year old son wants to get married. He quit high school at the end of his junior year and has been working at a fast food place. His girlfriend has been working for a while and I’m not sure how old she is but she has her own apartment. I think this is a big mistake. What can I do to stop this?


Dear Dave,

Unless he needs your signature to get married, there probably is no way to stop him. Your best bet it to talk to him and encourage him to wait a year or so. Most eighteen year olds think that they know more that they really do. What he thinks is true love may only be sexual attraction.
His girlfriend seems to be making enough money to support herself but what if she gets pregnant and can’t support the family? Would he want to move in with you? He needs to be more financially stable to be in a position to get married.

If you can’t talk him out of it then you can only hope for the best outcome.


My Mom Wants me to Have an Abortion

Dear Sara,

I am fifteen years old and pregnant. I was pretty drunk when I had sex and I don’t love the boy. He said he would marry me but I don’t want to be married. I just want to stay in school and get my diploma. My Mom thinks I should get an abortion but that seems wrong to me. I am scared of actually having the baby. What should I do?


Dear Shannon,

You are very young to have to make a decision like this and are going to make a decision that you will have to live with. Whether you decide to have the baby or not, getting your diploma is a good idea and shows that you are mature for your age. I hope you will continue your education and learn to be self sufficient.

It sounds like in your mind that you would feel guilty if you got an abortion. Is this something that you could live with? On the other hand you are scared of the labor and delivery process. It’s not easy but this is a normal process and most women go through it without problems. It’s hard to give a baby up for adoption but maybe this would be your best option. You are very young but are the only one who can decide what is best for you. I know this will be a difficult decision but whatever you decide I hope that you will be at peace with it.

Good luck.


My Wife Doesn’t Have Time for me

Dear Sara,

I have been married for ten years and we have two children ages seven months and three years. I work long hours to support my family. I feel that I have lost that connection that my wife Laura and I used to have. I love my kids but I feel displaced by them. Laura seems too busy for me now. We used to have fun together and get romantic but she doesn’t seem interested. What can I do to reconnect with my wife?


Dear Carliss,

Your marriage needs to be nurtured just like anything that you value. Think about your relationship before you married and had kids. You both wanted to be together and wanted to talk and be listened to and snuggle and cuddle. This part of a relationship has to be maintained in order for it to remain healthy.

If the family focus is only on the children and their needs, the parents relationship may wither and die from neglect. With two preschoolers Laura may feel overloaded and tired a lot. She may need help from you so that she can feel that she has a few minutes to take a deep breath. I realize that you are working long hours but your marriage is important.

If you want to reconnect then you will have to plan some time alone. A whole weekend would be good. Make Laura feel really special. She is probably feeling the same emotional disconnect that you are. If you feel you can’t get away for a whole weekend then plan to have a weekly date where you can spend a few hours talking and reconnecting. Try to find a good babysitter so Laura won’t have to worry about the kids.

Tell Laura how you feel and she will see that this is important to you. Don’t give up and things will eventually get back to normal. She is just overloaded right now.


How can I be a Better Parent Than Mine Were?

Dear Sara,

I was raised by parents who basically ignored me. They worked all day and drank when they came home at night. They yelled at me when I did something they didn’t like and that was the extent of our interactions. I have a new baby and I need to know a better way to discipline her. I love her so much and I want her to feel wanted and loved. I always felt that the way I was raised was wrong and I want things to be different for my daughter.


Dear Jan,

Your parents did the opposite of good parenting. They ignored you and only paid attention when you did something wrong. The only way you had their attention was when you were being bad. I’m so glad that you realize their mistake and want to change things.

As your daughter grows, pay more attention when she is being good so she won’t act out just to get your attention. Her best reward will be your praise. There will inevitably be times when she does something that will need a punishment. If you don’t discipline her at these times you will have a spoiled brat on your hands. Part of loving your child is to raise her to be responsible for her actions.

When you need to discipline her you will know what her favorite toy or activity is. You are in a position to give or take away according to her behavior. Discipline gets harder as your child gets older so be consistent. Try to be fair and not too harsh but don’t back down when you give a punishment.

Every stage of parenting brings new challenges but your love and attention are important in every stage.


I’m not enjoying being a stay at home mom

Dear Sara,

I’m a stay at home Mom with a one year old and a four year old. All my friends work and put their kids in day care but I felt like it was important to be at home with my kids until they started to school. I didn’t realize how lonely that was going to be. I am beginning to feel depressed and I am gaining weight because I eat a lot. My husband isn’t much help. When he comes home he just wants to watch TV and what he calls “chill out” after a busy day. I need to change things but how?


Dear Robin,

In past generations when it was expected for Mom to stay home with the kids, there were other Moms in the neighborhood to socialize with. They had informal chat groups while the kids played. That lifestyle is no longer there so stay at home Moms have to be proactive and find places where they can interact with others like themselves.

You might start with the YMCA. This time of year is a good time to start as they are waving fees and most have babysitting services. You might want to try yoga. It’s good for you mentally and physically. When weather permits you could bundle the kids up and put them in a stroller and walk for about an hour. They will enjoy it and you will get some much needed exercise.
Since your husband just wants to be a couch potato in the evenings, why don’t you enlist him as a babysitter once a week and try to get together with some of your friends. You need to get out of the house and he needs to take some of the responsibility for his children. Do what it takes to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy.

Happy New Year