Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Innocent or Inapproriate?

Another Dear Abby got me thinking:

DEAR ABBY: I need an unbiased opinion. I am the father of a 12-year-old daughter, "Lia." She catches an early morning bus for school, and I leave for work at the same time her bus picks her up, so I'm in charge of getting her ready in the morning. Although we have two bathrooms -- one upstairs and one down -- neither of us wants to use the downstairs bathroom to get ready. All our stuff is upstairs. When I wake Lia up each morning, she heads into the shower and I go feed the dog. I then go into the bathroom and shave while she's in the shower. While I'm shaving we discuss sports and life in general. When I'm finished, I leave until she's done showering and goes back into her room. I then take my shower. Is this wrong? Lia's mother thinks it's inappropriate for me to be in the bathroom at all while she's taking a shower. I think it is efficient because neither of us is willing to use the other bathroom, and I find it's a good time to find out what's going on in her life. Who's right? -- RIGHT OR WRONG IN WISCONSIN
Stop – Think about your answer. Now, here’s what Abby responded:

DEAR RIGHT OR WRONG: Your wife is correct. It's not a matter of "right or wrong." It's a matter of what is appropriate. At 12, your daughter is becoming a young woman. Either you or Lia needs to start using the downstairs bathroom. If you can't agree on who that will be, then draw straws. You can bond with her over breakfast.

This really got me upset. I feel like Abby was shaming the father when really he was doing nothing wrong. I assumed that there was an opaque shower curtain and the daughter didn’t mind. What’s the big deal? It’s an innocent time for the father and daughter to hang out. Her privacy is protected and it’s a good, efficient use of space and time. Studies show that men communicated better side by side versus face to face so it’s a win for father/daughter communication and for timely getting ready in the morning.

What’s your thought – Daddy trying to hang on to his little girl inappropriately or good, efficient use of time and space? Also what do you think is motivating the mother to intervene?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dear Abby may have got it wrong

Recently, a Dear Abby column had me steaming. A reader wrote in that her best friend “Heather” wanted another child, but her husband did not. The two of them had been arguing about this. Heather had said she was going to stop using birth control without telling her husband. The friend wanted to know what her responsibilities were now that she has this information.

PAUSE – Think of how you would answer this question while humming Jeopardy music.

Okay – we’re back. Got your answer? Well, here’s Dear Abby’s answer: Tell Heather what she is doing is a bad, bad, bad idea, but if that doesn’t work – tell the husband.

Tell the husband? Wha-Wha-What? Really? Interfering in someone else’s marriage is the way to go here? Creating a triangle of distrust? Yep, that sounds like a great idea!

1. Who knows if Heather was serious? We all say things in the confidence of best friends that we may mean at the time, but don’t actually follow through on. “If that happens one more time, I am quitting my job.” “I am sending my children to a work camp in Siberia.” You know things like that.

2. It’s none-yer-business! The friend’s job is to BE A FRIEND! We have all done things our friends have disapproved of. Some friends has been successful at talking us out of it, some have not. Either way, disrupting a marriage is not the way to go.

I have tried to see this from the husband’s perspective. Would I want to know? Would I be angry if I later found out the friend knew and didn’t tell me? I really don’t think I would want to know. The only thing I can see happening out of this is that the friend tells the husband. Heather denies it. The friendship is over and the fighting in the marriage just gets worse.

Now, the friend should consider if she wants to be friends with someone who would engage in this type of behavior, but that’s a different post.

What do you think? Should the friend tell the husband? If you were the husband, would you want to know? Have you ever been in a situation where a friend confided uncomfortable news? What did you do?