DEAR AMY: My daughter, “Maria,” is obsessed with trashy fashion magazines (Latina, Glamour, Cosmo and Seventeen), even calling them her bibles.
She brings them to high school and reads them in class when she is supposed to be paying attention to her teachers. I have gotten calls from her teacher, who had to confiscate her magazines because she wouldn’t put them away when asked to do so.
The teacher asked me what I would like done with them, and I told her to tear them up and throw them away. I also told Maria that if this happens again something is going to happen to her magazines that she won’t like.
The other day I received another call, so I gathered all of these trashy magazines and burned them, because (for one) her teacher told me that my daughter called her a name that rhymes with “witch” when she confiscated her magazine.
I have had enough of this garbage! Amy, how would you have handled this? -- Furious Mom
DEAR MOM: If burning your daughter’s magazines solves your problem — and hers — then you’ll know it was the right thing to do.
However, a thoughtful parent tries hard to dig beneath a surface issue, behaving in a way intended to model integrity and positive, pro-social behavior, even when a child is acting out.
First of all, not all of these magazines are “trashy.” You should talk to your daughter about the media she consumes to understand what she likes about this material. Does she like the clothes? The racy content? The way the models look or pose? Does she like how confident they seem?
When she calls these magazines her bibles, what does she mean? Does she rely on these magazines to tell her who she is? Aren’t you curious about this?
You need to calmly discuss this with her. And then you must meet with her teachers to discuss her challenges and her disrespectful behavior. Ask for their recommendations.
DEAR AMY: When we were much younger, my brother and I were very close.
Around the time I entered high school, we started to take very different life paths, and at times he would make negative comments about some of my choices.
Now I am 23; he is 20, and most of our conversations end up pretty one-way.
I don’t know what interests him, and I often answer his questions with long-winded answers. I only have this dynamic with him, not with other people.
I thought he was giving me a signal that he wanted nothing to do with me, but he just made plans to visit me in the small city in Thailand where I live. He will be here for about a week.
I suspect I hurt him emotionally when he was young and he holds that against me now, but I don’t like to assume because he doesn’t share very much. I feel as if every conversation is torturous boredom for him.
Should I seek to reconnect with my brother? And if so, how? -- Older Brother
DEAR BROTHER: You don’t mention ever asking your brother questions — only that you answer his with long-winded explanations.
You will affect this dynamic by being more quiet, not filling every silence and being satisfied to simply be in the moment with him.
You and your brother are at different developmental stages; if he is traveling halfway across the world to see you, it should tell you that he wants to spend time with you.
It is a fantastic opportunity to have some experiences together that you can build upon in the future. Don’t waste it.
DEAR AMY: I could not believe the letter from “Military Mom,” who was so offended by her daughter’s relationship with a nonmilitary man.
I also come from a proud military family. Our record of service goes back generations. I cannot imagine wanting to dictate this choice to someone else.
The freedom to pursue your own livelihood is one thing that inspires us to serve! -- Proud Military
DEAR PROUD: Exactly! I have heard from many military families who also express this point. Thank you all.
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