Dear Carolyn: My child is a senior in high school and will be graduating in June. Instead of the usual beach week, my child’s group of eight to 10 friends wants to go camping. I think this is a great idea.
Within this group of kids, there are two couples. The mother of one of these four kids insists on going along, even though she has given her child permission to attend the same out-of-state college as her child’s significant other.
All of these kids will be 18. They are all trustworthy, smart, churchgoing kids with high morals. My child is frustrated, and several of the kids are considering canceling if the parent goes along. Am I viewing this from the wrong side?
A: I think the only way to view something from the “wrong” side is to view it from only one.
As long as you waited to form your opinion until you considered the perspectives of others – including the seniors, the other mom, anyone who knows anything about camping, and, for some literary flair, a disinterested omniscient narrator – you satisfied your obligation to be fair.
After that, if you feel strongly that this mother is overstepping, then talk to her. Or, if you believe well-behaved 18-year-olds have earned the right to be treated as adults, and that’s why you think the mom is overstepping, then back that up: Let your child and the rest of the group decide how they want to handle their uninvited guest. It’s within their developmental range to cancel the trip, renegotiate its terms in a way that satisfies this mom, or grudgingly have her along.
And if you believe “high morals,” churchgoing and smarts inoculate anyone against impulsiveness or temptation, then history just fell off its chair laughing. The trust you need here is trust that these seniors can handle themselves, not that everything will be s’mores and campfire songs.
Partner won’t talk money
Dear Carolyn: What are the options when your partner finds a topic of dissension (the couple’s financial position and habits, for instance) to be boring and doesn’t want to discuss it?
– Won’t Discuss
A: The business of life is boring to execute, much less discuss, yes. Neglecting it, though, while other people deal with it for you, leads to the kind of excitement functional people don’t want to have, such as eviction, foreclosure and repossession; ruined credit; lost jobs, job-hopping or chronic underachievement; retirements projected at a dozen years after your expiration date; and the accompanying, unrelenting stress. Living responsibly is freedom; the alternative, chains.
If your partner is worth all this, then soldier on and disregard the childish attitude toward “boring” things. Otherwise, I strongly suggest you insist or cut bait.