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Q. My husband and I disagree about how much of our children we should be putting on social media. I don’t do much social media after giving up Facebook, but he spends a lot of his day on various sites. I thought I had gotten through to him about the safety and privacy issues and how kids should have control of their own online identities someday, but I discovered he has been posting a lot of photos of our kids on social media beyond Facebook, and he won’t take responsibility because he says I only told him not to do it on Facebook. I am furious he was doing it on the sly, and meanwhile he says I overreact about all this stuff and am paranoid. —Stuck
When there’s a fundamental disagreement about child rearing, the first option, of course, is compromise. Another is to let the parent who cares more/knows more/dominates the argument call the shots. And a third is to each do your own thing, sometimes in secret so the other won’t find out. The latter option is clearly not acceptable here.
That he used the Facebook-versus-other-social-media technicality means he doesn’t really share your philosophy. I do, admittedly — but I’m not raising kids with your husband, so it’s time for a reality check. Identify the parts of your argument that matter most to you and why: Research? Examples? A gut feeling? And then listen to what matters most to him: Connection with others? Showing off his kids? Being seen as an involved dad? The more you can help him meet those needs in other ways, the easier time he’ll have seeing the validity of your views.
I have an even better question!
Q. My friend is a constant one-upper. I have a long history with her so it’s not like we’re going to disappear out of each other’s lives. And I think she does it out of insecurity, not meanness. I’m talking about the “Hey, I get to go to New Orleans for a wedding!” “Cool! Did I tell you about the tropical luxury Bahamas vacation I’m going on in four years?” type of stuff. —Driving Me Crazy
If you’ve got a long history with her and you know she means well, address it soon. It’s much more damaging to the friendship for you to continue to be annoyed by this, potentially growing resentful. So, choose an approach that works well with the style you two already have. Teasing her gently in the moment when it happens, to raise her awareness? Bringing it up in the context of an analysis of each other’s personalities? Letting spill how much it bothers you in a heart-to-heart over margaritas? Be specific, and be gentle: “Sometimes you’re so excited to share how you relate to what I’m saying that my own news feels a little dismissed. Do you want me to tell you when this happens?” It might be a hard habit for her to break, but if you can motivate her to try — by not making her feel like a bad friend for it — then she’ll also be well-served by looking at where the urges come from in the first place.
Send your questions for Baggage Check to Dr. Andrea Bonior at firstname.lastname@example.org. She may answer them in an upcoming column in Express or in a live chat on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. at washingtonpost.com.
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