Parent’s Corner- Trouble for my Son





Dear Sue Ellen,

My son is a senior in high school.   He was going to college when he graduates, but now his girlfriend says she is pregnant.  I am sick about this and don’t know what to do.

Troubled Parent


Dear Trouble Parent,


Most likely, the first thing I would do is throw a hissy fit.  Maybe not around my son and his girlfriend because they would need for me to stay calm, but inside….I would be devastated.  I could remind you that we all make mistakes along the way; some bigger than others; but I would probably roll my eyes if I were in your shoes, and somebody said that to me.


You are about to have a grandchild.  This baby didn’t ask to be born under these circumstances.  Don’t let this new life become a “throw-away” child.   Find a way to support your son and his girlfriend through this.  Put your personal hurt and pain aside….now is not the time.  Step in and help these young parents, when they allow it; and bow out when you need to.  Empower them to surround their baby with love, nurturing and protection…no matter what that looks like.   Research shows that a child growing up in a dysfunctional home setting has a significantly better likelihood of growing up a healthy, responsible person in spite of their circumstances if there is at least one  person in their life that loves them and mentors them.  Find a way to celebrate this addition to your family.  Don’t judge.


My Daddy once told me a story about the mighty Oak Tree and the Palm Tree.  A big storm came, with very strong winds.  The Oak Tree stood his ground, determined not to bend under the force of the winds and sneered at the Palm Tree as he danced and swayed in the wind.  The winds grew even stronger and finally broke the magnificent Oak Tree.  It fell down, defeated and broken while the Palm Tree stood.


If I were in your shoes, I would be the Palm Tree.   I hope you like to dance and sway.







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Parent’s Corner -Not So Thankful at Thanksgiving

Blue Angry Bird


Dear Sue Ellen,

My sister-in-law is the most controlling person I have ever seen.  Whenever she comes over the first thing she does is adjust the thermostat of my house. She orders us to all be very quiet when she puts her baby down for a nap.  Her son is just an infant and she is already telling us what we can and cannot say around him.  I hate it when they come over and yesterday she told my husband they are planning to spend Thanksgiving weekend with us.  I can’t think of one thing about their visit that I will be thankful for.  Is there any gracious way to get out of this?



Dear S.B.

Here are some suggestions for getting out of having your sister-in-law’s family visit Thanksgiving weekend:

Lying is a weak option. You need a truthful reason.  Make plans to go out of town for the weekend and tell them you won’t be home.  Then leave town and visit a distant relative.

This suggestion may cost you a little so you’ll have to decide if it is worth the investment.   Burn the turkey.

This option is much more involved and requires a long-term commitment. Go to the pound and adopt a dog or cat. Tell them your new puppy or kitten needs an adjustment period before anyone comes over.

Get your husband to blame you and say you don’t want any guests for the weekend.  If you are lucky, they will stay mad at you for a few months; or at least long enough to get you through the next few weeks.

Extended family members visiting can be stressful, especially during the holidays.  Whatever you decide to do about your sister-in-law, try to have peace, and allow time to reflect on things you are thankful for.  If they come over for the weekend anyway, watch the old movie ‘Mary Poppins’.  There is a good life lesson in the song she sings: “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down”.  So when your sister-in-law has been with you for a couple of days and you are ready to screech at her and pull her hair out, remember that little song.  I hope it helps.   Happy Thanksgiving!




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Parent’s Corner – Jealousy



Dear Sue Ellen,

I have two daughters that are 3 years apart.   They are 9 and 12 years old.  My older daughter is a drama queen.  My younger daughter is quiet and sweet.  My older daughter is sweet too, but everything is just very emotional with her. She is closer to her dad, which is interesting because he is somewhat of a drama queen too.  It’s like my older daughter and my husband relate to each other on some level that my younger daughter and I don’t understand.  Anyway, my younger daughter is jealous of her flamboyant older sister.  I see it, but I don’t know how what to do about it.

Mary Beth


Dear Mary Beth,

I was talking to a friend the other day and she was sharing her life growing up with her sister and parents.  My friend loved her childhood, but said her older sister claims they had a terrible time growing up.  I have heard other people say similar things about their childhood.  How two people growing up in the same home can have such different opinions about growing up is a mystery to me.

Jealousy is a terrible thing.  It is like a disease.  It starts out small, but grows in our dark places, like cancer.  For years, I watched two of my cousins, who were sisters, at family get-togethers.  The older sister had been a sick child and had required a lot of her parent’s attention.  The younger sister was always in the background.  Rather than show concern and want to help her older sister, she was jealous because she wasn’t the one getting all the attention. When they were adults, the younger sister turned her back on her parents and her sister, breaking their hearts. Jealousy separates families. Jealousy is not rational, and does not believe in truth.  Jealousy likes to be angry, hateful, spiteful and revengeful.  Harboring bad feelings of rejection or misunderstandings can feed jealousy.  Jealous is the ultimate selfishness.

Try to get counseling for your family.  Talk to your husband and see if he will go for it.  If you bring your concerns out to the open, perhaps you can resolve this thing before it has a chance to turn into something ugly.  We all get jealous sometimes, but how we deal with it is the important part.  Your youngest daughter might just grow out of her jealous phase, but if she doesn’t, your family will have a real problem to deal with.

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Parent’s Corner- Night Shift


Night Shift


Dear Sue Ellen,

My husband has recently been put on the night shift at his job. Our son is 3 years old. My husband would always be the one to put him in bed every night.  They would read stories together.  Now I am reading and tucking him in at night and he wants his daddy to do it.  He cries for his daddy every night and I don’t know what to do.



Dear Carla,

Things get hard in life sometimes.  Most of us parents want our children to have a perfect life.  We learn soon enough it isn’t possible to be that perfect parent who gives their children that perfect life.  When things get tough for families we beat ourselves up and feel guilty, or we worry that we have let our children down.

Children are amazing and resilient; more so than we are.  We should let them teach us how to be that way again.  We are usually mistaken about the things our children remember from their childhood. You may see your husband being away from your little boy at bedtime as a bad thing because he misses his daddy.  Have you considered the possibility that you and your little boy will make some lasting memories together when he adjusts to you reading him bedtime stories, rather than his daddy?

Your little boy may remember this: “When I was a little boy my mother and father read to me at bedtime.  Sometimes it was my Daddy and sometimes it was my Mama”.  What’s wrong with that?  When your little boy cries for his Daddy, let him.  Validate his feelings.  We all miss our Daddies sometimes.  Get your husband to leave him a message on your phone to reassure him.  Then read him his favorite story, tickle him, rub his back, tuck him in and kiss his sweet little boy cheeks.  Over time, he will adjust and so will his parents.

When I was a little girl, my Daddy could stick nickels in his ears and they would come out of mine.   It was magical!  That’s what I remember about my Daddy working the night shift and my mother working during the day.


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