Sunday, May 27, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Lead daughter by nonjudgmental example

Lead daughter by nonjudgmental example

Q: We have a wonderful 26-year-old cousin who just announced she is pregnant. My wife and I are very happy and have expressed our joy and support in multiple ways.

The father is 40. They have been dating for about six months but have not announced whether they are going to get married. She will definitely be a great mom. The dad may be great too — our family does not know him well yet.

Our challenge is how we handle this with our 10-year-old daughter. We have been and will continue to be fully supportive of our cousin; however, we also would like to impress upon our daughter that we hope that a man and a woman fall in love and then decide to get married, and, through their continued love for each other, they may have a baby.

How can we communicate our values to our daughter in a manner that in no way adversely impacts her views of her cousin?

Father Is Perplexed

A: You're less perplexed than you think. In choosing to support your cousin despite a belief that a love-marriage-baby formula makes sense, you have already made the exact calculation that you want to convey to your daughter.

So, you just need to figure out why you're expressing joy and supporting your cousin, instead of scolding, fretting over or shunning her.

Judging from your comments, you're not saying, "X behavior is bad . . . unless someone close to us does it, in which case it's okay." That's a good philosophy not to have, because not only does it lack integrity, but it also wouldn't pass a clever 10-year-old's eye-roll test.

I suspect your belief instead is that doing right by children is ultimately more important than following a societally sanctioned path to starting a family — and since you trust your cousin to be a good parent, you feel genuine joy at her news.

If that's your belief, then you have this to support it: Some people raise oops babies beautifully, while plenty who (1) fall in love, (2) marry, then (3) have children in perfect sequence make perfectly awful parents. Good parenting is about maturity, and marriage vows are but one measure of maturity, and a flawed one at that.

But if I'm wrong and your beliefs are more along the lines of "I think the baby's conception was irresponsible, but there's nothing I can do about that now and that baby needs all the supportive family s/he can get," then that's a supportable mind-set as well.

However, it also means you need a new goal in addressing your daughter. If you are in fact judging the mother-to-be, then communicating your values "in a manner that in no way adversely impacts her views of her cousin" is a nonstarter, lacking both integrity and efficacy.

That's why knowing your own heart is the first step in teaching values: Unless your heart, words and deeds are all working together, you won't make sense — and when their parents don't make sense, kids tend to draw their own conclusions.

Convenient flip side: When parents do make sense, their kids get messages without a whole lot of tortured parental explaining. Why not let your cousin's story play out, observe your daughter, and supply narration only when you see the need?

Comments
With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

TAMPA — Behind the construction walls near the carousel at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, hammers, saws and power drills made a racket in the blazing Friday heat. A raft full of 100-pound water jugs took test trips on the new Roaring Springs ride set ...
Published: 05/25/18

Tell Me About It: Half sister worries about wedding drama

Half sister worries about wedding drama"target="_blank">Half sister worries about wedding dramaQ: I really want to go to my half-sisterís wedding, but I donít want to start trouble with her dad, who hates me. He might cause a scene if I go.My mom ch...
Published: 05/25/18
An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

Recently I was asked to create a playlist for a summer beach party. An opportunity to procrastinate and mess around on Spotify for a few hours? Yeah, totally, when can I start?I like playlists that are diverse, not just in terms of genre (pop, hip-ho...
Published: 05/24/18
9 things to do indoors on this rainy Memorial Day weekend

9 things to do indoors on this rainy Memorial Day weekend

We've got you covered. Get it?
Published: 05/24/18

Tell Me About It: Busy mom wants to check her priorities

Q: As a mother of three young kids holding a full-time job and with a husband who frequently works late evenings and some weekends, I feel my priorities change according to what is in front of me at the time, then Iím reconsidering my choices later.H...
Published: 05/24/18
Top things to do for the week of May 28-June 3.

Top things to do for the week of May 28-June 3.

Shania Twain: Canadian country pop princess makes a comeback at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on Saturday ($36.20-$156.20).Memorial Day: Thereís plenty of ways to celebrate today, including the Treasure Island Memorial Day Parade that steps off at 9 a.m....
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/26/18
Top things to do for Memorial Day weekend in Tampa Bay: Concerts, festivals and memorials

Top things to do for Memorial Day weekend in Tampa Bay: Concerts, festivals and memorials

Our editors' picks for things to do this weekend.
Published: 05/25/18
Top things to do this weekend: Margarita Festival, Rays’ Kiermaier as Star Wars figure, Nintinder

Top things to do this weekend: Margarita Festival, Rays’ Kiermaier as Star Wars figure, Nintinder

LIME TIME: Tampa Bay Margarita Festival This year, there are twice the bartenders and a new RFID wristband system for less waiting at the two-day Tampa Bay Margarita Festival with a margarita flavor for every taste. Music headliners are the Wallflow...
Published: 05/23/18
John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

It’s been 50 years since John Fogerty wrote Fortunate Son, one of the most scathing protest songs from the Vietnam War era. Writing another one with that kind of impact has been a challenge ever since. "Back in the ’80s, I had a couple o...
Published: 05/23/18
What's in theaters this week: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' Art and Short Film Mini-Fest

What's in theaters this week: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' Art and Short Film Mini-Fest

OPENING FRIDAY: SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY Alden Ehrenreich stars as a young Han Solo navigating the underworld and meeting his forever wingman Chewbacca and his scoundrel buddy Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). With Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Woo...
Published: 05/23/18