Q: My 17 year-old-daughter is leaving for college this fall with her best friend who will attend the same school. My daughter hasn’t dated much in high school, but I’ve heard occasional rumors that she and her friend are lesbians.
Do I confront my daughter about this before she leaves home, or wait for her to say something?
A: Do neither. Same-sex relationships are not a disease to be confronted, but an issue that you should address in a supportive and positive manner.
Assuming you have a reasonably open relationship with your daughter, tell her that you’ve heard some people talk about the possibility that she and her friend are romantically involved. While your daughter’s sexual behavior at her age is a private manner, reaffirm your strong love and support of your daughter irrespective of her sexual orientation.
Take your daughter’s lead as to whether this is something she wants to discuss with you.
Q: The drama, gossip, and meanness among the girls at my daughter’s junior high are just overwhelming. I have been tempted to call the parents of some of these kids to tell them about their kids’ cruel behavior. I think these parents need to know what’s going on.
A: You have a very important role in helping your daughter navigate these tumultuous relationships, but you should be acting more as a coach on the sidelines rather than a participant in these junior high dramas.
You have only your daughter’s perspective on this drama. Confronting other parents about their kids’ behavior is only apt to provoke a rather defensive reaction and involve you in endless discussions about what really happened.
The issues your daughter are dealing with in junior high will continue throughout her life. She’ll need to figure out how to deal with people who try to make themselves look good by making others look bad.
Coach your daughter about how she should handle these situations. Emphasize the importance of never participating in hurtful discussions, and ask for feedback about what is and is not working for her.
Q: My baby is 26 months old and I don’t think she is normal for her age. I spoke with my doctor and he said to keep an eye on things and he’ll check her in about 6 months. At what age will they know if she is normal?
A: Share your concerns with your doctor. Ask for a referral to a developmental pediatrician or a child psychologist. Babies with problems can be identified at your daughter’s age. However, please be aware that children progress at various rates, and only a specialist can determine if your daughter’s development is within the typical range.