The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Carolyn Hax: Angry comments on news sites and Facebook? That’s my husband.

(Nick Galifianakis/for The Washington Post)

Hi, Carolyn: Please help! My husband fights with everyone online and he can't or won't stop himself. These are charged times, we all know. My husband spends hours arguing with strangers in the comments sections on articles and friends' posts on Facebook. He frequently diverges from the topic at hand and the threads spiral into name-calling and vitriol.

I hate it. I've asked him to stop and he says he feels like he needs to call out bigotry and racism wherever he sees it. He was raised in a pretty racist family but has become "woke" and wants to wake everyone else up. But it doesn't work. People dig in and he looks like a crazy person!

It's embarrassing to me in front of friends and family. When he's arguing with people on my page, he says things like "my wife and I don't want you in our lives."

He wants me to block certain people, but I don't want to give into his demands just because he gets angry at their comments. I'd rather block my husband. How can I get him to stop his rage-commenting?

— Wishing Facebook Was Anonymous

Wishing Facebook Was Anonymous: Block him, yes. Great idea. Tell him you’re doing it. Tell him it pains you to watch him feed the anger cycle and have so little to show for it.

Ask him whether he has looked into organizations that not only address the bigotry and racism he’s so upset about, but also have made clear progress: measurable gains in education, grass-roots organization, voter registration, legal challenges, funds raised toward things he believes in. Ask whether he has considered how useful his time would be if he volunteered it to one of these groups instead of burning it on trolls.

Ultimately you can’t tell him what to do, of course. But you can sympathize; you can speak your truth; you can decline to be part of something you believe is destructive; you can research effective organizations; you can point the horse to this water; and you can ask him, please, to drink.

Hi, Carolyn: I have two elementary-age sons. They play several sports, usually two per season. They love it. However, they also want to attend parties that sometimes are scheduled during their games.

I usually decline, explaining they have an obligation to their team, etc. There is a party coming up in a couple of weeks that they REALLY want to attend. It is during a basketball game.

What guidelines do you have for your kids? Is it okay to skip a game every once in a while? I don't like the precedent it sets, but I understand wanting to attend a party.

— Anonymous

Anonymous: A team member’s job is not to let down the team.

A sports parent’s job is not to be insane.

These overlap nicely when you allow younger children to skip a game only as a rare exception and only with skippable games. Technically there’s no youth game that Actually Matters, but there are some that matter to the team and/or its ability to play in a playoff or at a higher level. Don’t blow those off for parties.

The window for missing games inches closed in middle school and slams shut in high school, so plan or unplan accordingly.

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