Q: My nephew, “Logan,” is a sophomore in high school. He is a bright, awesome kid who is on the autism spectrum. He is very high-functioning, even on a higher level than Asperger’s. But the social struggles/issues are still there. To this day, my sister refuses to tell Logan about his autism. She feels immense guilt and goes into panic mode every time I bring it up. She thinks he wouldn’t be able to handle it.
The poor kid knows something is wrong but doesn’t know what. Can I tell him? Or if it’s morally wrong to tell him, can I tell him when he is 18? I am a nurse, and I strongly believe everyone should know everything about their conditions, mental as well as physical. But it’s tough with my nephew because he is still a minor. — Can I Tell Him?
A: Your sister may mean well, but keeping her son in the dark about why he is the way he is, is cruel. I agree that the boy should be told, but the person to persuade your sister to come clean would be your nephew’s pediatrician, because it appears she has tuned you out on that subject. He should have been getting counseling and/or therapy to help him deal with his social issues.
If the conversation still hasn’t happened by the time Logan turns 18, tell him then. He will probably be grateful to be able to put a label on what he’s experiencing.
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Q: My taste in music has changed throughout my life. I liked pop when I was young because that’s what I heard played on the car radio. Then in eighth grade I started to like music from the ’60s to the ’90s. But now I’m a sophomore in high school, and I have become a fan of rap and electronic music.
A lot of adults think rap is trash. I understand that it may cover some mature subjects like selling drugs, violence, sex and living in the ’hood. But I still find rap songs to be a pleasure to listen to.
Am I wrong to enjoy rap music? This may sound irrational, but I know employers search social media profiles. If I make the fact that I enjoy rap public, will they reject me? These are just thoughts that have crossed my mind, so I’m asking for some advice. — Hip-Hop Fan in New Jersey
A: As your experience illustrates, people’s taste in music can change as they grow older. Many people enjoy listening to rap music without indulging in the lifestyle that’s described — including, I have heard, some of the performers who write and perform it.
If you like a particular genre of music, I see no reason why you can’t continue to enjoy it. Although some employers check the internet profiles of prospective employees, I have never heard of an applicant being rejected for a job because of his taste in music.
To My Jewish Readers: Tonight at sundown the eight days of Hanukkah begin. Happy Hanukkah, everyone. May all of you enjoy a joyous festival of lights.
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