Dear Amy: This sounds dumb, but my husband and I have gotten into a few heated arguments about giving our young daughters ice packs for their little scrapes and bumps.
Our older daughter is 6 years old. Our younger is 18 months old. When they have a minor bump or injury, I will give them (or ask them if they want to go get) a small gel ice pack from the freezer.
My thinking is, even if it’s a very minor bump, it shows them that I see they are in pain or upset, and it gives them something tangible to do about it. Plus, sometimes it’s necessary (although not always).
I think in time, they will be able to determine, “No, that was a small bump and I am fine,” which my older daughter has occasionally done.
My husband says this is ridiculous. He says it’s babying them and teaching them to be wimps, and it’s contributing to the “wussification” of America.
I disagree and think it is teaching them to care for themselves. I’d love to know what you think. — Frozen
Dear Frozen: When our children were young and got a little scrape or bump, my older sister would always ask: “Do you need a wet washcloth?” The child could then fold the cloth like a bandage and hold it over their little injury until they felt better.
This washcloth technique also seemed to work if a child was uninjured, but upset. A cool wet cloth pressed on the forehead seemed to both comfort and redirect the child.
I’m in your camp — especially if the child can get her own ice pack.
Tender gestures are an important part of parenting, and it is during these comfort-sessions when a young child can feel supremely loved. It is too bad that your daughters are not receiving this sort of tenderness from their father, because young children who are promptly and appropriately comforted grow to be secure and trusting in their relationships — and therefore don’t seek constant comforting.
Fathers also have a special role with their daughters because they are modeling behavior the child may seek (or seek to avoid) in a future partner.
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Yes — there are also definitely times when a parent can/should say, “Dry your eyes; you’re fine.” There are so many ways to instill self-sufficiency in children, but withholding comfort is not one of them.
Because you and your husband seem to be at opposite ends of the comfort spectrum, you should try for a compromise. Challenge your husband: “If you can try to soften your parenting by 25 percent, I’ll try to toughen my parenting by 25 percent.”
Dear Amy: My colleagues and I decided to reach out to you with a problem that’s recently developed.
Our office is on the seventh floor of a downtown building. Two streets away is a recently completed apartment complex with a penthouse level, featuring two apartments with floor to ceiling windows. One apartment always has the shades fully up. The resident routinely walks around during office hours naked, or in a bra and underwear.
Today she walked onto her balcony undressed. The apartment is exactly in our line of sight (particularly in my office), and it’s impossible not to notice. This may seem funny or titillating to some, but we find this very distracting and unwelcome.
What is the best course of action? Email the management company? Stop by the lobby and say something to the front desk person? Maybe she doesn’t realize just how visible she is? — Eyes Burning
Dear Burning: I faced a similar situation when I moved into a new apartment in Chicago. I walked to the other building and asked the doorman to notify the person in the apartment that we could see directly into her home. He said he would tell the resident, but could not guarantee that she would do anything differently (she didn’t). Mainly I kept my own shades drawn.
I suggest you notify the building manager. Because your buildings are blocks apart (and her building is new), there is a possibility that the resident isn’t aware that she can be seen during the daytime by an office full of people.
Dear Amy: I am so disappointed and disgusted that you would publish a question about an “open marriage” between three guys (“Sometimes A Teenager”).
It is wrong on so many accounts. Are you that desperate for a story? — Linda
Dear Linda: People behave in all sorts of confounding ways. I see this column as a way to highlight the human story.