Q: How do I connect with my son? He is 4 and he prefers his father to me. I generally “get” to be the bad guy — the one who takes him to doctor appointments, gives icky meds, enforces bedtime and keeps order.
Dad doesn’t even have to try to get affection. They are best buds. My son even asked me to go away so Dad would love him more. It stings. Aren’t boys supposed to love their moms? — Sad Mom in West Virginia
A: Of course they are. Parenting responsibilities are supposed to be shared, and these days many men step forward and share those responsibilities. Your husband appears to think that being a “bud” is more fun than being a father. Making you the “bad mommy” while he is the “good guy” is unfair not only to you, but also to your son.
The two of you should have already formed a united front when it comes to discipline. If this is allowed to continue, your boy will play each of you against the other, if he isn’t already, and your problems are only starting.
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Q: I am a medical receptionist with a university medical group. It is common for people to approach my counter and “hover” next to the person I am helping, listening to the information I’m being given without any regard to it being private. When I ask them to stand back, they usually get upset with me.
I’m tired of people acting like it’s me who’s being rude. I could get in trouble by not speaking up because private medical information is supposed to be protected. Would you please inform your readers that standing and listening to people while they are being checked in for a medical appointment is not OK, and if they are asked to step away to not take it personally? — Tired of Asking
A: I’ll inform them, but I have another suggestion to offer: Discuss this problem with your office manager and ask if it would be prudent to post a sign asking patients not to stand within three feet of the reception desk when waiting to sign in. That way the onus won’t be on you, everyone’s privacy will be protected and no one will be offended.
Q: I’m 12. I love dancing and singing, but my mom has told me many times that I’m not good at it. It has lowered my self-confidence.
I’m now scared to sing or dance in public, although when I was younger, I would do it happily. What can I do to feel OK about my dancing and singing abilities? — Entertainer in San Francisco
A: Nobody starts out being a star. Talent needs to be developed and nourished before it can blossom. If you enjoy singing and dancing, continue to do it, if only for the joy it brings you, and stop worrying about approval from others, even your mother.