Q: My daughter, a single parent, has a 27-year-old son who has assaulted her several times. He has never worked and has been in trouble with the law because of drugs. Recently, she called me to ask if she and her son could spend the night with me. (They live 160 miles away.) I told her that because of his past behavior it wasn’t a good idea.
She was very offended and said I would “never see her son again.” After sending me several hurtful emails, she’s no longer speaking to me, despite the fact that I have always taken care of her and listened to her problems about her son.
I deserve an apology, which I won’t receive. But I feel bad about the situation. How do I fix it without apologizing myself? — Dad With a Dilemma in Florida
A: Because you know an apology from your daughter won’t be forthcoming, don’t expect one. Considering the fact that your grandson has a tendency to be violent, I don’t blame you for not wanting him in your home. So stand pat. Your daughter will start talking to you again as soon as she needs something from you. Of that, I am sure.
Q: I am a teacher who occasionally must conduct parent-teacher conferences through a translator. My colleague and I are wondering, what is the proper protocol for these conversations? We are not sure whether to make eye contact with the translator or the parent when talking and listening. Thank you for your help. — An International Educator
A: It is important to make eye contact with the person with whom you are communicating. When you are being given a translation, it’s all right to make eye contact with the translator. However, when asking a question or directing a comment to the parent, you should look the parent in the eye.
Q: My boyfriend, “Mac,” and I come from two different worlds. I am from Europe but have been living in the U.S. for 15 years. I have many friends, male and female, and I make a point of staying in touch with them.
Mac is Native American and believes that in a relationship, your partner should be the only opposite-sex person you spend time with. He doesn’t want me to be in touch with any of my male friends — no lunch meetings to catch up, and no occasional email, text or call to check in. These are all platonic relationships with guys who share a similar interest. Most of them have wives or girlfriends I get along with well.
Mac thinks his manhood is insulted because he should be enough for me. He was cheated on in the past. I never have been, so I can’t relate. Am I being unfair, rude or insensitive by wanting to keep my friends? — Friendly Female in Nevada
A: Not at all. But you must recognize that your boyfriend has some deep-seated insecurities, and until he is willing to work on them, he will continue trying to control those with whom you keep in contact.
You are correct that the two of you come from two different worlds, and I’m not talking about geography. If this is what you are willing to tolerate in the long run, continue your romance with Mac. If not, then it’s time for you to make the choice to end it.