Friday, February 23, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Dear Prudence:

Q: I recently got my genetic profile done by 23andMe, and I was a bit shocked to discover I had no American Indian blood. My mother has prided herself that she had such heritage from her grandmother, and I'm trying to decide whether to broach the subject with her that it's just not true. Coupled with the resurgence in the debates centering around a certain Washington football team, I've seen an uptick in my family of pride and hurt feelings as of late, and wonder if it would be something that needs to be brought up.

A: If you are a Dan Snyder hater — the membership rolls for this club are astronomical — this revelation means you won't receive the ministrations of his new, much mocked foundation for American Indians recently created by the owner of the Washington NFL team to distract from the controversy about the team's name. During her Massachusetts senate campaign, there was an imbroglio over Elizabeth Warren's claims to American Indian heritage. It turned out no one could find any evidence of such ancestry, but Warren decided to stick with her family lore. I think you should take the same tack as far as your mother is concerned. First of all, these genetic tests, as a BBC story points out, provide "more of an indication than an absolute." The result is convincing enough for you to accept none of your ancestors crossed that Bering Strait land bridge. If it makes your mother happy to think the blood of our land's earliest inhabitants runs through her veins, there's no reason to tell her.

They like it rough

I have been with my boyfriend for two years and we feel comfortable roughhousing. This consists of trying to slap each other in the face and using scare tactics to see who gets startled the most. Although it is childish, it makes us laugh. Unfortunately, my luck ran out when he accidentally hit my jaw instead. That chipped my front tooth. I was devastated, as I have always admired my teeth. It didn't help that my boyfriend felt that it was my fault. Then my overly critical mother lambasted me. Am I responsible for this accident? Should I be upset with my boyfriend? Should I avoid ever going to my mother for advice?

People who enjoy greeting each other at the end of the day by springing out from behind the couch and offering a right hook to the jaw probably should put on protective goggles and pop in a mouth guard before opening the door. But even if a couple mutually engages in a Punch and Judy show for fun, when Punch accidentally decks Judy, he should issue a prompt, sincere apology. Then, instead of assigning blame, Judy should acknowledge that this is the kind of thing that happens when two people enjoy messing with each other's heads.

Your mother may not be warm and nurturing, but even the most concerned mother might conclude an accident was inevitable. It's time to reconsider the way you two get your thrills. But even more childish is the way you've each retreated to defensive corners. You have to start thinking about whether not only the game has run its course, but the relationship, too.

Slate.com

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