Health

I Found a Condom in My Son’s Room. What should I do now?


Our 19 year old son is staying with us during college summer break. While my wife was vacuuming, she discovered a box of condoms under his bed. It hasn’t been opened yet, but I’m still furious! My son knows that I am strongly against premarital sex. He also understands my overall philosophy: my house, my rules. When I asked him about the condoms I had thrown away, he denied they were his. He claimed he was keeping them for a friend, as if I were an idiot. I wanted to kick him out of the house, but my wife disagreed. How should I proceed?

DAD

Edicts like “my house, my rules”, discussions or disagreements, fact gives lies. You have every right to your strong opinion. But your rigidity here has turned the opportunity for the conversation to become fruitless.

In my opinion, you should talk more gently with your son – after consulting with your wife, who seems to be taking a more deliberate approach here. Share the reasons for your views on premarital sex and invite your son to answer honestly. If you’re still at odds, ask him to respect your beliefs while he’s living at home.

At 19, your son is a young man. When you threaten to “get him out,” you create a conditional home where he is only welcome if he accepts being treated like a child. I respect your wife’s objections here. I also think you are wrong to throw away the condom. If he’s sexually active, they’re an important defense against unwanted pregnancy and STIs – whatever your beliefs.

For many years I played tennis with a woman – mostly doubles. She organizes all the games. Suddenly and without explanation, she stopped inviting me. I know she’s still playing. I met her at the club. We chatted intimately but she never asked me to join her game. This has gnawed at me for months. Should I tell her that I am in pain from such a sudden cut?

WASTE

It’s a forest out there! And many will try to avoid harsh conversations – which, in this case, all boil down to: “You’re not among the top three I want to play tennis with anymore.”

I’m sorry that your feelings were hurt. But I understand why she avoids telling you a hard truth or making up a clever lie that you might catch her with. If you’re determined to know why this woman (who has no obligation to you) stopped inviting you, ask her. However, it will be more effective if you set up your own games.

I am a teacher putting together a flashback collage of my students so they can look back on their progress over the years. I have photos of some students before they transitioned, changed their name, or opted for a haircut that better suited their gender identity. I don’t want to upset them by including pictures that show pictures of themselves that they no longer recognize. But I also don’t want to remove their presence from the community. Think?

TEACHER

The fact that you’re sensitive enough to ask this question tells me you’re already aware of the agony that dead names (given at birth and skewed with one’s gender identity) and pre-transgender photos can cause transgender people – causing the pain they feel before emerging as who they really are. Using outdated images in a collage would be wrong.

Even so, the more I look at this project – looking at the “progress” of the students compared to their older photos – the more I dislike it. Many kids are self-aware enough to not have to see old photos of their clumsy years on the classroom walls. I consider you an educator, but instead, why not ask your students to take pictures or draw drawings of themselves on the big day (with brief captions)? Call it Happy Collage!

My step-nephew (the grandson of my late wife) is getting married. I am attending a wedding with my girlfriend of six years, whom I met after my wife passed away. I was also invited to a rehearsal dinner, hosted by the other lady of the groom, with whom I was very friendly. But that invitation was only sent to me. Can you ask her if I can bring my girlfriend? The groom’s family may not know the extent of our relationship.

PATERNAL GRANDFATHER

I’m confused: The bride and groom have invited you to bring a plus to the wedding, but not to the rehearsal dinner. That seems odd; it could be a mistake. I suspect the groom’s grandmother created the list for the dinner; it was probably offered to her.

Go ahead and ask if you can bring your girlfriend. But keep in mind that she may not be invited – because of cost or space or proximity to the bridal pair. Those are all acceptable reasons. And you can turn down a dinner invitation if you’re going to a wedding or feel uncomfortable attending without your girlfriend.


For help with your dilemma, send a question to SocialQ@nytimes.com, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.





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