Carolyn Hax: Judging parents through their children’s eyes or ours?

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Dear Caroline: Not a question, but an observation: At work, I spend about an hour with tour groups giving interactive lessons on historical activities. Groups are usually children chaperoned by their parents in fourth or fifth grade. I often hear the conversations of the children as they discuss and the subject often comes up from parents who are not present in their lives as much as they would like. Here is a recent conversation:

Girl 1: (says something I didn’t hear).

Girl 2: “Yeah, my dad is always somewhere on the phone working.”

Sure enough, I scanned our lesson area and a man with our group was off to the side having a focused conversation on his phone. Although I’m not sure, it seems likely that the man was the subject of the girls’ conversation. So, all this to say that kids notice everything. Be present as much as possible.

Occasional observer: Not an answer, but an anecdote: one week of school holidays, we took the boys on several day trips. City walks, trampoline park, shopping center with Imax cinema, children’s museum. On the last day, exhausted, we had a movie-pajama day.

For his writing about how he spent his holidays, one wrote: “We watched TV.

Your conclusions are beyond reproach – attention is everything, phones can be a huge source of attention, kids notice everything. Yes yes. But your testimony scares the crap out of me.

Please be careful who you judge and why. Pre-phones, this dad may not have been able to leave the office at all to chaperone, and the call you witnessed may have been what freed him up for the rest of the outing in the field.

Children, like the adults they watch so closely, sometimes tell the truth, and sometimes only tell part of it to create some effect.

Dear Caroline: I am in a wonderful and solid relationship with my boyfriend and we are planning to get married. I have an inner conflict that arises when I socialize with my boyfriend’s work colleagues, who are outgoing like my boyfriend. They are full of energy, feed off each other’s energy and talk endlessly. I am calmer and not “entertaining”.

In the early days of our meeting, he talked about his “work wife” (his words). She is the complete opposite of me. They are still better now.

I don’t feel sure that 1) he connects in a special way with his co-workers that I don’t have with him, 2) I’m afraid of being boring to them.

I’m hesitant to share this with him because it’s not up to me to control his social life, and why should he change when he’s done nothing wrong?

How do you shift to a healthier state of mind? Rely on my own friends and hobbies to take my mind off things?

Conflict and sadness: Never marry an unresolved problem.

This is the #1 rule for preventing relationship misery. Don’t even take a step closer to marriage until you have resolved your doubts.

Rule #2: Don’t rely solely on your own explanations of others’ behavior when they are available to explain it themselves.

As far as you know, the extraversion of the “working woman” is the reason why he doesn’t love him romantically. Why not just point out the obvious differences you’ve noticed between your temperament and that of his friends? And ask him if he noticed it too? What if he thought about why he chose an introvert as a partner? What if it was deliberate in some way or purely coincidental? What if he minds that you’re more reserved, even if he prefers that?

Not like an interrogation, just a conversation. It’s not about control or change, it’s just about getting to know yourself (much) better. And understand your relationship. You chose him, after all, despite his “other”; he might as well not feel safe because you connect with other introverts in a way he can never do with you, and feels superficial to them. Which brings us to:

Rule #3: Don’t assign negative values ​​to things that are simply different.

This even applies to ourselves. Have you thought about why you applied the worst interpretations to your own nature? “Not ‘entertaining'”? “Boring” ? Is expressing concern “controlling”?

Rule #4: Stand firm for true intimacy – which means saying the things that scare you, not hiding in your like-minded friends and hobbies.

If you don’t feel safe enough to be vulnerable, either you’re not ready for an intimate relationship or you’re not with the right partner. Or both. It’s fine, as long as you’re honest with yourself about it and adjust your relationships accordingly.

You and your boyfriend have a lot of important things to discuss, and marriage isn’t one of them yet. Own yourself, then see what you get.


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