'Problem child' may grow into super adult, if you let him

While I'm away, readers give the advice.

'Problem child' may grow into super adult, if you let him

Proud Sister of a Problem Child: On raising a difficult child: My brother is two years older than I am. When he was a baby, he was fussy and difficult, refusing to sleep for more than an hour at a time. I slept for long stretches quite happily. Through elementary, middle and high school, he was a poor student with various issues, on at least one occasion leading to suspension. I was an honor student with no behavioral blights on my record.

In adulthood, however, he is now a college graduate, happily married, working at a great job, personable, and by far the sweetest and most loyal person I know. I, at age 26, have yet to finish college, and I'm currently trying to get out of a dead-end job.

Our paths have diverged greatly from what most people, including our own mother, would have predicted.

Our mother taught us to use our talents to our best advantage, both for our own gain and that of the other sibling. I have always been calmer and more analytical, while he has a creative flair and awe-inspiring musical ability. I advocated for him when he wanted a special allowance, and he taught me about computer programming, introduced me to new indie bands I would never have heard of, and was always available as my backup band when I wanted to sing.

Being both participant and observer to life's long-term changes has taught me one very important lesson: While a person's past can provide reference, you never know what people are capable of until you give them a chance.

Talking to one another solves many Mars-Venus problems

Marseille: On getting what you need from others: I believe in making it easy for your spouse to make you happy. If I have spent a whole afternoon deep-cleaning the kitchen, rather than expect my husband to notice (and brood if he doesn't), I tell him, "Admire the kitchen — I spent the whole afternoon cleaning." Then he admires with fervor.

If you care that he/she remembers your anniversary/birthday, remind him or her. It may be less romantic than surprises, but marriage is for the long haul, and playing mind games or expecting your spouse to read your mind gets in the way of happiness.

Finally got it right: On Mars vs. Venus: The writer who complained about having to be a mind reader is a married man, not a 9-year-old. I'm sure no one tells his wife when the toilets are dirty, or the food supply is low, or, God forbid, when a salad needs making.

For him to say, "If she would only ask . . ." is very much beside the point.

How about getting some life skills? Learn to anticipate that pasta night equals a salad, or — here is a huge step — call his wife and ask if there is anything he can do before she gets home from work.

To use the "if she would only tell me" excuse is just something I would expect to hear from a child. This kind of resentment on both parts can lead to terrible consequences. Be a partner to your spouse.

This goes for the ladies, too. It's a two-way street.

'Problem child' may grow into super adult, if you let him 09/03/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 3, 2010 5:30am]

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