Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
I have a 13-year-old son , I admit that my husband and I are very strict with him about lots of things , including what he watches on TV and what movies he views . I learned that some of his friends routinely get to watch R-rated movies --- either because their parents are lenient or because their parents have given them no restrictions on what they watch on TV. When I learned that , I decided not to let my son go over to heir houses anymore . I want to limit what he sees at least for now . Routinely , when he asks me if he can see a movie that is rated R , I automatically say no . I'm wondering if I should amend that . I don't want him to start ignoring me , even though I do think these other parents are making it harder for me to keep up my standards .
Drawing the line , Jackson Miss.
Dear Drawing the line,
It is admirable that you care enough to want to protect your son from bad influences. But the truth is, most teens watch R-rated movies at home without their parent's knowledge, or at a friend's house, anyway. Many of the so-called adult situations that make movies R-rated are already being seen on TV, on the internet and in video games by teens: that includes sexual situations, violence, adult language, and drugs.  We live in a new age where kids are no longer as na├»ve as in previous generations. They are inundated with adult situations through mass media and their experiences outside the home, away from your protection. Over-protection will not prepare him for the reality he will live in when he leaves you.

That said, I'm not saying this invalidates the need for a rating system. The line between R rated and PG-13 rated movies and programs has become very fuzzy. Some PG 13 movies have very intense situations including nudity and violence, while some movies are rated R because of a few cuss words. 

A 2-hour movie can’t ruin the years of values, morality and responsibility that you have carefully instilled in your son. Most teenagers know fantasy from reality and right from wrong and can judge what information they should accept; unless there is something fundamentally wrong with the child.

However, he should not be exposed to NC-17 rated material at that age. That rating is for extreme sexual and/or violent
 situations. Kids under seventeen are not permitted in theaters to watch those productions.

So, what do you do? First of all, lighten up a bit on the 
strictness and show him you have some faith in him. You need to tell him you trust his judgement and give him a little leeway. Forbidding him from seeing certain people or going to their homes is going to produce rebellion and isolate him socially.
The best filter is you. Watch the movies yourself, first, (keeping an open mind to the fact that he should be allowed the same privileges as his friends). That way you can judge if he will be comfortable watching them.

Dear Maxy , 
I believe in thank-you-notes . I'm having a hard time convincing my children that they are important . When they receive presents from people , I tell them that they should write a note immediately to express their gratitude . Half the time they do nothing . How can I get them to be more responsible ?
Enforcing Good Manners 
Dear Enforcing  Good  Manners ,
While  you don't  want to run the risk  of  making  good  manners  seem  like  a punishment ,  you may have to insist your children use proper etiquette . 
Another  approach  that  may  open  their  eyes  is  to  point  out that someone cared enough about them to go out and buy or  make them a gift . Ask them how they would feel if they took a lot of time and trouble to find a gift that someone liked and that person never appreciated or even acknowledged it.
If  they are more comfortable with a phone call, text, email or Facebook...that works just as well in this age of technology.

Dear Maxy ,
I went to an event that was hosted by a woman I met through a professional contact . I thought the event was horrible . It was poorly produced . People came late , primarily because it started too early --- smack in the middle of rush hour . And it seemed really disorganized . Because I came out of respect to my contact , I sat through it , but I was none too happy .

I chalked it up to not-so-great experience until the host cold-called me for feedback . I hedged around my thoughts at first , but she kept asking so I told her . What I said was measured , but I did let her know that I was not particularly pleased , I think I said it in a way that wasn't offensive . I don't tend to volunteer my thoughts , especially if they are questionable , but I actually didn't volunteer . She asked me . She seemed to take it pretty well , too, but I'm second-guessing myself now . Should I just made nice on the phone , or was it right to tell her what I thought ? 
Heads up 
Dear  Heads  up ,
Congratulations  on  your  tactful  honesty .  I agree  that it  may  not  have  been  your  place  to say anything, if  you were the one  to  bring it  up . After  all , you  said  you do not  know  this woman . But since  she  reached out  to  to  you , it  must have  been for  a reason . She, no doubt, respects your opinion. While  she  may have  been looking  for  affirmation  of  the success  of  her  event ,  she  got  what she probably needed  .... honest , constructive  feedback  that  she  can use . She, very likely, will take your advice to heart and her next event will be better because of you. There is no need to call to make it up to her in any way but continue to be friendly if you meet again.

Dear Maxy ,
I am expecting my first child . My mother is a wonderful , intelligent 68-year-old woman . She is also bipolar and seems incapable of keeping herself physically healthy and her house clean . I know her poor health almost certainly stems from the fact that her living conditions are filthy . She also has a sour smell about her that makes me worry that she is lax about her personal hygiene.

I have tried many times over the years to help her keep her house clean , but inevitable it returns to the state of extreme disarray . The only visible floor is the pathway through piles of junk . The kitchen and bathroom is moldy bio-hazards . Eventually , I can to the realization that nothing I say or do is going to make her start talking care of herself . I can't afford a caregiver to help her and I'm past the point of trying to make a dent in the perpetual filth myself .

My main problem is that when my baby is born , I know Mom is going to want to spend time with her . I don't feel comfortable allowing my infant child to be exposed to the unhealthy conditions of her house . I am ashamed to say that I also don't feel comfortable placing my baby in the care of a woman who seems incapable of caring for herself . How can I tell my mother , the woman that raised me , how to live? This is a conversation I never wanted to have . Is there anyway I can avoid breaking her heart and embarrassing her ? 
Concern daughter and Mom-to-be 
Dear  concerned  Daughter  and Mom-to-be,
Hoarding and poor hygiene can frequently accompany mental health disorders, like depression, social anxiety, bipolar disorder, and impulse control problems.
....( )
I sympathize, but  your  child's welfare, will soon become  your  first priority . This  will make  it  easier  for  you to talk  to your  mom . Tell her  you love  her  and  understand  her level  of  cleanliness  and  hygiene  is  her  choice, but  it is  not appropriate  for  your  child . Explain that visits  with the  baby will take  place only  in your  home , under  your  supervision .
She  will  promise  to do better, but  that is  not  a guarantee.
 Tell her you  hope  this  will  motivate her to seek professional
treatment to make her life healthier and make it better for everyone  around  her .
 Helpful website.... ( )
She may be ashamed or embarrassed but if she cares enough about you and her grand-child , she may take stock of her life and hopefully, reach out for help .
 Her situation should not, under any circumstances, change  the  parameters  you have  set up  for  the  care  of  your  child .

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