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When mom and dad disagree on violent video games

I dread this time of the year because of the constant conflicts with my ex-spouse regarding Christmas gifts for our two boys, who are 7 and 12 years of age. He buys them presents that are inappropriate and then I’m stuck with allowing them to have things that I feel are wrong. My kids want some video games that are rated “Mature,” which my ex thinks are fine for the boys. How can I stop him from buying such stuff?

You can’t control the boys’ dad, but you can and should prevent your children from using the games in your house. Stop arguing with your ex-husband and carefully explain your concerns about purchasing toys you feel are inappropriate. If he disagrees, explain that you will not allow the children to bring the games into your house. The first time those video games come home, send them back. If they somehow find their way into your home again, throw them away.

Explain to your boys exactly why you feel playing such games is not acceptable at their ages. Acknowledge the reality that you and their dad have differing points of view, but you are going to enforce your rules in your house.

My sixteen-year-old honor student daughter has been trying unsuccessfully to get a part-time job. She is extremely overweight, and feels that is being held against her. I’ve learned to accept her obesity and encouraged her to do the same but what do I say to her when things like this seem to happen so frequently?

While it is terribly unfair to judge one’s competence on the basis of a person’s physical appearance, such conclusions are common. If your daughter is going to accept her obesity as a life-long condition, she will unfortunately also need to prepare herself for a lifetime of prejudice.

Given the health risks and psychological implications of obesity, I wonder why you would accept her condition as inevitable. With focused attention on very modest goals and support from you, she can begin to change her life today. She is too young to condemn herself to a lifetime of weight-related health and psychological problems.

Do you think that a high school student should make his own decision about where to attend college? My son wants to go to a school far away from home, and is applying to colleges that we cannot easily afford.

If your son is paying completely for his education, then it should be entirely his decision. Otherwise, the golden rule applies—-he who has the gold makes the rule! That would be you!

There is an easy solution to this issue. Tell your son how much you can afford to assist in paying for his education. If he selects a school beyond that amount, then he will have to borrow or earn the extra money on his own.


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