Parenting Journey

Does prom have to be a 24-hour party?

Q: Around here, prom seems to have turned into a 24-hour-plus party. My daughter is begging to attend all the prom activities, because “everyone else is.” I think it’s too much partying and she should come home right after the dance – am I being overly protective?  

A: When I was growing up in Southern California, my friends and I wanted to have an after-prom beach party to watch the sunrise. We never were able to negotiate that option! But the parents were able to arrange satisfying compromises. 

Grandma is a recovering alcoholic and wants to baby-sit

Q: My mother-in-law is a recovering alcoholic. She’s been sober a year. She is dying to baby-sit our newborn son, but I am a little nervous about leaving her alone with him. What if she falls off the wagon? How should I handle this?

A: Your concerns highlight the fact that recovery from addiction involves the entire family and not just one individual. Honesty and connectedness need to be a key part of your family’s relationship with your mother-in-law.

Do I have to baby-sit my younger brothers and sisters every weekend?

I am 17 and the oldest of five children. My parents treat me as their built-in baby-sitter every weekend. I never get a chance to make social plans because they are always busy with their friends and leaving me with my little brothers and sisters. Is it ever OK for me to say “no”?

Often, older children in large families have many responsibilities with regard to their siblings, but it seems your family system needs to find a balance so that every member has an opportunity for outside social engagements.

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