DEAR HARITET: My son is eager to go back with his friends for the rest of the summer. We have not figured out whether the school will be physically in session or not. He expressed the lack of his friends and felt locked in and had nothing to look forward to. So with all the right precautions, I let him go down to our local park to play basketball and train.
I talked to the mothers of his friends and they did not let their children go to the park. When I asked who he was dating, it turned out that older men aged 20 and 30 were working in the park. My son is only 13.
If he doesn’t hang out with his own friends I know, or with kids his age, I don’t like him hanging out with those grown men I don’t know.
I don’t want to tell him he can’t walk in the park anymore, but I don’t think he’ll understand that I don’t want to hang out with these older new friends either. How can I give him freedom while still defending him?
DEAR QUARANTINE MOTHER: This is simple. Your son should not walk and play with grown men unknown to him. Period.
You can go with him one day to see who is there and watch the interaction. But unless you can identify someone you know, you shouldn’t let them hang out with them. This is for safety reasons on more than one front. You want to limit your son’s interaction with everyone, especially people he doesn’t know. And you want to make sure that he is not exposed to behaviors or lures that are inappropriate for a teenager.
Talk to the mothers of his friends again to see if any of them would like to organize socially remote gatherings with your son. This is the best alternative in my book.
DEAR HARITET: I am a mother who stays at home, and my husband now works from home. We have three children and two dogs, a full hall. We start our day early and finish late in the evening.
My husband is in his office most of the time. We tried to create a balance between work and personal life with boundaries. He does not work outside his office and continues to work between certain hours.
Although we have found our rhythm, I feel so alone and programmed without a break. My kids need attention every second, and my husband is close, but he’s not here most of the day. When I take a break, I feel exhausted and don’t know how to relax. My home is supposed to be my sanctuary, but since I’m at home and never have to go anywhere, I don’t enjoy my vacations. What can help calm my mind in this situation?
DEAR STIR CRAZY: Step back, take a breath, and reassess the situation. Yes, it’s stressful. But much of it is probably similar to life before COVID-19. Think about what you managed then and what is different now. Assign your children specific responsibilities that give you a little flexibility.
Let your husband know that you desperately need his help. Even if it’s an hour every day after work, you need it to engage the kids so you can have an hour’s rest. Don’t complain when you talk to him about it. Explain that this is necessary to keep the family under control.
Harriet Cole is a lifestyle stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative that helps people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c / o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.