Q. I am a 16-year-old with a great and supportive family. My twin brother and I are home-schooled by our mother. Recently one of my good friends and her mother came over to visit.
My friend and I were looking at some websites for a game we enjoy playing. She began to show me some of the music she listens to and some of the videos that go with the music. I did not like the music or the videos.
For one, they scared me. I found them dark. The songs included cussing, which I feel ruins a song. I could not figure out how to say that I would really rather not listen to (or watch) those things. She’s the type of person who gets angry and upset if you disagree with her. She said her mother had no idea she was listening to this stuff. I began to feel literally sick to my stomach.
How can I tell her I don’t want her going on these websites on my computer? I really want to tell her mom what she is up to, but I don’t want this to end our friendship. I am very worried and don’t want my friend going down the wrong path. I told my mom and dad about what happened, and my mom thinks that I should tell my friend’s mom, but I’m not sure.
A. If your own values don’t give you the strength to speak your own truth — or if you’re simply too dominated or shy — then your parents can help give you “cover” to work around peer pressure.
In the moment you could have said, “My parents will go ballistic if they find these sites on my computer, so you need to stop.”
I suspect that your friend finds this material appealing because it is a way for her to rebel against her folks, your folks, and people who share your specific values. If you or your parents feel that this material is dangerous for her, then your parents should speak with her parents.
Q. Our daughter’s fiance is charming, intelligent, thoughtful, and has dreadful table manners. He’s Asian, so we think it’s a cultural thing. He spends the meal slurping, with his face and body almost in the plate, in the “trough” position with open-mouth chewing and lots of noise. We wonder if this is considered appropriate or appreciative in his home culture.
He’s lived in the United States for quite a few years, but I don’t think he recognizes what’s going on. My husband wants to talk to him about this, but I don’t want to offend him. I don’t think we can ask our daughter to talk to him, either. I keep hoping he’ll notice how we eat, as we share meals together often, but it’s been months. Any thoughts?
A. There’s nothing “cultural” about your future son-in-law’s dreadful table manners that I’m aware of. He simply has dreadful table manners. This is an issue best broached by your daughter. What’s needed is merely a gentle correction. It should be expressed that better manners will likely benefit his other personal and professional encounters.
Q. “Querying Mom” was very upset because her children were excluded from a family wedding and when she and her husband attended the wedding they saw other children there. These other families may have completely disregarded the “no kids” admonition on the invitation. I was shocked at our wedding to see how many families ignored our suggestion that they get sitters for that day.
A. You are correct; some parents seem to believe that the “no kids” rule applies to everybody else. Thank you.