Dear Abby: My husband and I are expecting our first child (a boy) later this year.
How do I teach my son to enjoy solitude and his own company? Too many people today turn on the radio or TV because they can’t appreciate the quiet.
I want my little one to have loving friends, but also periods of quiet, reflective fun time by himself. My husband and I grew up with siblings, but he hates solitude while I find lots of activities to do by myself. I am never lonely. What’s the difference between solitude and loneliness?
– Solitary Woman in Ottawa
Dear Solitary Woman: The difference between solitude and loneliness depends on how an individual handles being alone. Some people find silence threatening, while others – like yourself – need it to recharge their batteries.
For your son to be at ease when he’s alone, ration his television time. Read to him so he’ll learn to appreciate the entertainment books provide. Give him items to play with that foster creativity, such as clay, paints and paper, a cardboard box he can pretend is a playhouse or a spaceship. (You may find he prefers it to whatever toy the carton contained.) If he’s encouraged to use it, his imagination will flourish.
Husband bares it all
Dear Abby: Help! My husband won’t wear clothes. When our children were young, he walked around naked because he wanted to make sure they didn’t have the same hang-ups about nudity that he grew up with. (His father was ultra-conservative and uptight.)
My husband began wearing clothes again when the kids got older, but now they have all moved out and he has quit. He sits naked in his recliner to watch TV. The recliner is right next to the front door, and there’s only the storm door between him and the world. Abby, he literally strips all his clothes off to do the dishes!
We live in a NEIGHBORHOOD. It’s not like we’re out in the country. If I say anything to him, he says I can go into a different room if I don’t like it. Is this normal?
– Nudie’s Wife in Florida
Dear Nudie’s Wife: It appears to be normal for your husband. Some, not all, families are very relaxed about nudity. As long as your living room isn’t visible to the neighbors and you don’t have drop-in visitors, your husband is harming no one. If you don’t want to look at him, take him up on his suggestion.
P.S. I hope you thank him for doing the dishes. Not all husbands are so helpful.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.