Dear Annie: I see so many columns where parents don’t get the result they want from their children. I lucked out with the help of my clever pediatrician, whose advice was to give kids more control over their lives while teaching responsibility.
When my son was about 7, he did NOT want to go to bed or get up in the morning. So, we went and picked out his own alarm clock. I wanted him to go to bed at 8 p.m., so first I asked him if he thought he should go to bed at 7 or 7:30. “Oh, 8:00,” he said. “OK.” So then I asked, “What time do you think you should take your shower?”
Needless to say, the next night at his chosen time, he stood up and said like a big man, “Well, I gotta go take my shower and then go to bed.” The next morning, he got up when his alarm clock rang! Peace! — Happy Mommy
Dear Happy Mommy: Thank you for sharing the wonderful advice of your very wise pediatrician. I have no doubt you will help countless parents out there with this simple yet effective way of parenting.
Dear Annie: In this “COVID age,” why is it still acceptable to blow one’s nose in public?
Every time I take my family to a restaurant, it seems that someone pulls out a nasty handkerchief and blasts away. Is there a better way to spread germs than this? Why can’t there be a policy to encourage people to go to the restroom to blow their nose?
It’s not only disgusting for people in the middle of a meal, but it is also totally unsanitary. — Disgusted in Ohio
Dear Disgusted: I’m disgusted just reading your letter. You are correct that people should blow their noses in the bathroom or in private — NOT in a public restaurant.
Dear Annie: Forty-two years ago, my then-boyfriend and I decided to move in together in the house he was building. We were married three years later. He was a single father of two boys, and I had one daughter from my previous marriage. My boyfriend’s former wife had visitation rights with their boys, and she saw them often. Since I never had any reason to dislike or mistrust her, I decided she and I should try to be friends so the kids wouldn’t have added stress in their lives. She agreed.
We are so thankful for our friendship! One of the sons was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer at age 23. His mom and I worked together to take care of his needs. Sadly, he passed, and we all provided support for one another.
A year after that, my daughter and her family lost their home in a fire. We also had my elderly mother-in-law living with us. So, my daughter and her family moved in with us at the same time. With Thanksgiving approaching, things were not looking very festive. My stepson’s mother invited our entire family to her house for Thanksgiving. What a gesture of love and friendship!
We have remained very close friends since then and see each other often. We are all very thankful for the peace our friendship has brought to the family. — Thankful in New England
Dear Thankful in New England: Thank you so much for your heartwarming letter. Your decision to bond with your husband’s ex-wife is admirable, and it has paid enormous dividends for everyone in the family. Kudos to both of you.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]