Workaholic Husband

I am furious at my husband. All he thinks about is work. My son is a great football player and his team will be playing in the championship game soon. Is my husband interested? No! He has been to one game all season and left at halftime. My son and I had to find a way home with my neighbor. He came in later with no word of apology. I know my son is hurt by his neglect but he has accepted the way his father is. I need more than this from my husband. How do I get him to pay attention to us?
-Francesca




Dear Francesca,

It sounds like your son isn’t the only one who feels neglected. Your husband needs to know how seriously his behavior is affecting his family. From what you have said in your letter about how angry you are, I have a feeling that you have already let him know how you feel. It seems that he continues to be a workaholic even though it’s having a negative effect on his wife and son. I doubt that he would take the time to go to marriage therapy with you considering his past behavior. You need to decide whether to stay in a marriage that is making you unhappy or to look at other options. Your son needs to be considered when deciding what to do. He seems more accepting of the situation than you are.
-Sara

Daughter’s Eating Disorder

Dear Sara,

My daughter is twelve years old and really skinny. She seems to eat very little most of the time but there are times when she really pigs out. I think she goes to the bathroom and throws up after she does this. I’ve taken her to the pediatrician and he seems to think she has anorexia. He said her eating habits are dangerous. I try to talk to her but I don’t seem to be getting through. What can I do to help her?
-Jenna




Dear Jenna,

Your daughter probably needs more help than you can give her. It can be hard for an adolescents to open up about their struggle. The longer that she continues this behavior the more difficult it will be to rewire her brain and take a good look at her health and body image and fight back against the compulsions she has. There are programs for adolescents with eating disorders. Look for one in your area and try to get your daughter the help she needs.
-Sara

High Expectations

Dear Sara,

I have a daughter who is very bright and has always had an easy time in school. She spent very little time on homework and seemed to make A’s with little effort. I was proud of her and let her know often. She is a junior in high school now and in the program for gifted and talented children. When she brought home a B it was all I could do to keep from saying “why did you get a B.” I want her to work hard not just get good grades easily. What should I say to her when she gets a B when she usually brings home an A.
-Isaac




Dear Isaac,

Life is not always effortless. Your daughter is used to coasting along and now she has a challenge. This is good for her and a B is not a bad grade for a child who doesn’t have her gifts. If she is used to getting A’s she may be encouraged to put more effort into her work. Let her know you are proud of her. She needs to know that you love her whatever her grades are.
-Sara

Son Is Acting Out

Dear Sara,

I am having a terrible time with my five-year-old son. He is mean and hateful and ruins things on purpose. He took his sister’s doll and poured cooking oil on it. Nobody saw him do it and he denied it. I saw him when he jumped on the family dog with both feet. The dog is limping a little but I think he’s OK. This is normal daily behavior for my son. I punish him with time out or taking away something he wants but his behavior continues. I’m really worried about him and don’t know what to do.
-Jenna




Dear Jenna,

Sometimes kids act out when something bad is happening to them like sexual abuse. He can’t tell because he’s afraid that something bad will happen to him or his family but he needs help. Keep a close eye on your son and give him a chance to talk to see if you can get any clues Also look for signs of abuse when you give him a bath.
Another problem that you could face would be that you son has a mental health problem. His behavior is definitely not normal. Either way it would be a good idea for him to talk to a child psychologist. Your pediatrician would be able to give you a referral. Your son definitely needs help.
-Sara

Differing Expectations In A New Marriage

Dear Sara,

My husband and I married last June. We are in our thirties and both have good jobs. My new husband wants me to have a baby and be a stay at home Mom. I don’t really want a baby and I would go nuts staying at home all of the time. We didn’t really discuss this before we married so I never expected him to feel this way. We had a rather short courtship so we are now finding out things about each other. This is putting a wedge between us. How can I make him see that I can’t really have a baby and be a stay at home Mom?
-Megan




Dear Megan,

Even though you are a mature couple you seem to be experiencing your first marriage. There are always some things that couples have to adjust to but this seems like a major issue that the two of you need to resolve. You certainly can’t be forced to have a baby if you don’t want one and apparently, your new husband seems to include having a family in his expectation of married life.

One option that you could consider would be to have the baby and he could be a stay at home Dad. Some men are choosing to do this now. Another option would be to agree to wait a few years and see how you feel about this later. You may have to talk to a marriage counselor and have a third party to mediate your discussions.
-Sara

A Hard Christmas

Dear Sara,

Christmas is going to be very hard for my family this year. My wife of fifteen years died suddenly of an aneurysm last February. She was a beautiful person and a great Mom. Our three children have gotten back to their normal routine but they still miss their Mom. We used to have a great family Christmas with a tree, a great dinner and a present opening. How can we get through our first Christmas without her?
-Jacob




Dear Jacob,

Would you rather start a new tradition or pay tribute to your wife and the kids Mom by celebrating in the traditional way? Either way will be difficult. Some people choose to help out in the local soup kitchen, helping serve a Christmas meal or helping give out presents to people who are in need. This way You could pay homage to your wife and the kids Mom by helping others. You could also try to help your kids by going on a special vacation in a place they always wanted to go.

Another way to celebrate the holidays would be to continue your usual celebration and have everyone write a special tribute to their Mom. Families need these traditions. It’s a reason to gather and celebrate with each other, It would be a difficult time for your family but it could be a good thing to continue the old tradition.

I am so sorry for your loss.
-Sara

Using My Inheritance

Dear Sara,

I am eighteen and will graduate from high school this year. I was very close to my Grandma who just died. She was a very special person and we spent lots of time talking and watching TV when she was in the nursing home. I just found out that she left me a great deal of money. My parents think I should use the money to go to college which I have no interest in. I know some guys who are going into business and need some startup money. This sounds like a good deal to me and I would be in from the start and get to be one of the heads of the company. I have read about so many people who have become a success this way. I am willing to work hard and do my part. Do you think this would be a good place to invest my money?
-Zach




Dear Zach,

A startup company is a risky business. A lot more of them fail than are successful. You may want to wait a while and not just jump into the first opportunity that presents itself. If you know some experienced person in the field you are interested in, you might ask them to investigate this opportunity that your friends want you to invest in and get their opinion on the viability of this deal.

Since you haven’t really had much work experience you might not know what field is the best fit for you. Maybe you could invest your money where it would be secure and get some experience doing different things. A nest egg is difficult to come by. Don’t spend it without a lot of thought.
-Sara

Starting Over Late In Life

Dear Sara,

I have been happy being a wife and mother for almost thirty years. Now my kids have left home and my husband has decided to leave as well. Our married life hasn’t been interesting or exciting for a really long time but I thought things were OK. I think my kids will be really upset with their Dad but he said he didn’t care and that he felt like he was in jail. I was shocked when he said that. Financially I don’t know how we’ll manage. I’ve never had a job outside of being a Mom and housewife. How will I survive?
-Sophie




I can tell that you are in shock right now. If your husband has decided to leave and you don’t know how you are going to manage, maybe the best thing to do is to see a lawyer and find out what kinds of assets you and your husband have and how they can be divided. If you haven’t ever worked then he needs to be responsible for seeing that you are being taken care of.

Another option would be to see a marriage counselor and find out what you and your husband can do to make your marriage work. He may or may not be willing to do this. There may be a reason that he feels like he is in jail so maybe you could get him to talk about this.

Just because you have never worked doesn’t mean that you don’t have skills and can’t work. If you are good at taking care of children you could consider working in a daycare facility. Even if you’ve never worked outside of your home, you have done things that are interesting for you. Follow up on these things. you may find this phase of your life to be better than you thought it would be.
Take care of yourself.
-Sara

Marriage At 16

Dear Sara,

I am sixteen years old. I have found the perfect man and I love him so much. We want to get married but my Mom and Dad say “no.” He has a job and an apartment and said I could still go to school if I wanted to. I feel like this is the best thing for me but I’ve always done what my parents wanted. How can I convince them to let me get married?
-Megan




Dear Megan,

Are you really willing to give up your teen years to get married? You are only going to be a teen for a few years and marriage is supposed to last forever. All of your friends will be having dates and going to prom and graduation. As a married woman do you think you would fit in? These are years that you won’t have again. Your parents want what’s best for you. They have raised you for sixteen years and have been there for you. If this man is right for you he will wait a few years and let you be a regular teen for a while.

While you are waiting, you and your Mom might want to talk about birth control options. Give yourself some time to grow up and mature before you start your family.
-Sara

Dating Again

Dear Sara,

I’ve been married four times. I have one child who is ten. I see him on a regular basis and vacations in the summertime. I’ve met a really nice woman and we seem to be getting along really well. She has hinted about getting married or having me move in with her. I like her a lot but I’m not sure about this. My son and my job keep me really busy but she seems to think that if we were living together she would see more of me.
What’s your opinion on this?
-Logan




Dear Logan,

Maybe you need to look back and see if you can figure out why your four marriages failed before you attempt another relationship. You didn’t say anything about loving your new lady, only that you seem to be getting along really well. If she wants more of your time, she may resent the time you spend with your son. You don’t seem very enthusiastic about moving in with her so give this some time and thought. You don’t need divorce number five.
-Sara