Short Answers

By Jeff Johnson and Paula Forman


Dear Short Answers:
I suspect that my teenage son and his friends are trying on my clothes (really) when I am not home. Things just seem to be in different places than where I left them. Should I wait for him to tell me that he is interested in woman’s clothing or should I confront him with what I know? I am willing to accept whatever answer he gives me. I just want him to be happy.

Dear Mom:
If you really are okay with it, then wait. He might know that you know, and is looking for the right moment, or he might not be ready to discuss. Stay cool mama.


Dear Short Answers:
Our daughter graduated from college and scored a job right near school, which is four hours from us. She’s in an apartment, has a boy friend, and is generally busy embarking on her new life. However, we hardly hear from her except when she is upset about something that didn’t go right, or if she needs something from us (e.g., requests to forward mail, ship something to her, or permission to use a credit card in an emergency; credit card is being phased out shortly). We’re glad to be there for her — that’s what family is for. However, she has become aloof. We understand her need for self-sufficiency and making a go of things on her own, but I feel she’s becoming very distant. I understand the unintended self-centeredness of a young person, but I am feeling disappointed that she doesn’t miss us as much as we do her (embarrassed as I am to state it that way). Is this just a painful part of parenting that I never anticipated? I appreciate any strategies you have for more meaningful communication with her.

Sad Mom

Dear Sad:

Separation is a normal and necessary part of growing up. Your daughter is doing what she needs to do. Be as graceful as you can possibly muster. These evolutions in relationships take time and patience but lead to better times. We promise.


Dear Short Answers:
When my wife and I got married 3 years ago, we decided to wait until we were settled before we had kids. We now both have jobs and own a home so I think we’re “ready.” But my wife says she cannot have children as long as Trump is President because the world is too crazy right now. Do you think this is just a ridiculous excuse because she’s nervous about having kids or is this a legitimate reason to delay starting a family?
Wanna Be a Dad

Dear Wanna:
The responsibility of bringing children into this world is an awesome one. We think she needs some reassurance from you that you will be the best, most responsible dad you can be — talk about it.


Dear Short Answers:
If you sit next to a total stranger on a bus or train and they smell really, really bad, is it appropriate to let them know? Isn’t it something they should be aware of? My husband says I am crazy. What do you think?

Dear S:
No it is not your responsibility to let them know, nor is it appropriate.

 Life is complicated. Short Answers isn’t.

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