Ask Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth,

My 12-year-old son has been asking me questions about the state of the world right now. He’s been asking me about the president and our government, along with a lot of what he’s seen on the news regarding a possible war and the corruption of government officials. I don’t know what to tell him or how to answer his questions. I need to keep things age appropriate and explain it to him in ways that he can understand without lying to him. How can I calm his fears while still being honest with him?

Concerned Mom

Dear Concerned Mom,

The state of the world is scary at the moment for an adult, let alone a child. Honesty is so important, but in a way that he will understand. When you watch the news, encourage him to watch with you and explain to him about the news stories. Encourage him to read and watch documentaries on historical events to help him to see the view from both sides. Tell him that if you don’t know your history, then you are bound to repeat it.

Have open ended conversations about current and historical events, and encourage him to ask questions and form his own opinions on what he sees. Make it a family event, where all of you discuss certain topics and make it clear that it’s OK to debate as long as an innocent debate doesn’t turn into a fight.

Having your child interested in the state of the world is a good thing, as long as it is a healthy interest and not a paranoid obsession.

Dear Elizabeth,

My daughter just moved back home with her 6-month-old baby because her longtime boyfriend broke up with her and kicked her out of their house. His reason was because she gained too much weight during her pregnancy and didn’t lose it fast enough.

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Now, my daughter has a destroyed self-esteem and a new baby to care for. I get so frustrated with the man/woman double standard. It’s OK for men to gain a little weight but not for a woman who just gave birth. I just don’t get it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a “man hater” or a radical feminist. I don’t blame men for everything that has gone wrong in this world, but when a man sleeps around he’s considered a stud, but if a woman does it she is shamed and made to feel worthless. It’s OK for a woman to be homosexual, but it’s not ok for a man.

I completely support equality for men and women, but I am not OK with this stupid double standard. Am I wrong?

Not a man-hating mom

Dear Not a man-hating mom,

I am so sorry that this happened to your daughter. Please tell her that if her baby’s father is going to behave that way, then she is better off without him and it is her responsibility to make sure that her child does not feel the same way when he or she grows up.

As for the double standard, I completely agree with you, it isn’t fair but, unfortunately, it happens. Wanting complete equality for men and women is not an unreasonable ask. It does, however, defeat the purpose when women want the same rights as men, but when they get them they want special treatment because they are women.

You cannot change the opinions of the world, but you can change your own. Do what you can to make sure that your daughter and yourself don’t let this double standard harden you or turn you into a “man hater.” Good luck.

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