Ask Micah


A Different kind of Advice Column….

Parents Know Best

Dear Micah,

My mother and father have a problem with my boyfriend.  They do not see him the way that I do and so far nothing I can do is changing that.  He works in a bar and they say this is a sign that he’s going no where in life.  We only get to see each other on Sunday nights and once during the week so they automatically assume he cheats on me (which he doesn’t).  They also claim that we shouldn’t be together because we argue sometimes.  Everybody argues.  We are passionate people.  When we love it’s pretty passionate and when we fight it can get pretty loud, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be together.  Maybe we don’t have the most perfect relationship, but its the one that I want.  I am a grown woman.  Shouldn’t I be respected enough by my parents to make my own choices when it comes to love?

Rebecca

Dear Rebecca,

Just because you have grown up doesn’t mean that your parents suddenly stop looking out for you.   My mother will still tell me when she thinks I’m doing something stupid and I’m 38 years old.  I have never seen the day when she didn’t believe that her opinion was something I needed to hear.  And that’s okay, because 38 or not, I am still her child until the day she dies.  Something changes in a person once they have a child–I have just in the last year experienced this myself.  Right now my little boy is dependent upon me for everything.  I make his decisions.  I decide when its mealtime or bedtime, or what he’ll wear, or what he is or isn’t allowed to play with in the house.  But one day soon he’ll be a grown man and he’ll operate independently from me.  He’ll be the one who decides what he’s eating tonight.  He’ll be deciding who he is hanging out with tomorrow.  Right now he is always by my side, but soon that won’t be the case and he will be outside of our house in another place where I won’t be.  He will be making choices that I cannot control, and at every possible turn I will be calling him up and giving him my opinion about his choices.  I can already tell that I am going to have a hard time dealing with his independence.  Oh, I will let him go and I will let him do his own thing because that’s what I am supposed to do;  But Rebecca, I already know that it is impossible to shut off the desire to protect and guide your child, even when they aren’t a child anymore.   You may be an adult now, but they will always have 20-plus years experience on you that they will want you to benefit from.  Your parents believe that your boyfriend isn’t the one for you.  They are probably right.  They’ve known you longer than you’ve known yourself and they’ve witnessed you make wrong choices enough to recognize when it’s happening again.  Now, I’m not saying that you should live your life the way they dictate–I just want you to ease up and not be so harsh with them.  Even if they are right about your relationship, you still should follow it through to the end and learn your lessons from the experience.  Just don’t get too …..adamant that they are wrong because the relationship you described to me doesn’t sound too promising.  You are dating a man that you rarely see, who is surrounded by temptation and the draw of nightlife.  You love hard and fight heatedly.  You said “Maybe we don’t have the most perfect relationship, but it’s the one that I want.”  I don’t think that it is the one you want…I think it’s just the one you have.  I’d bet if you could pick and choose you’d rather that this man didn’t work in a bar full of people having fun and women who may or may not be hitting on him.  I’d also bet that you’d prefer to be spending Friday and Saturday nights with him and that you’d like to see him more than twice in a week’s time.  There doesn’t seem to be much opportunity here to move this relationship forward.  I’m not telling you to dump him, maybe the small amount of time you do see him makes up for the rest of the lonely week.  Only you know that.  I’m just saying that you shouldn’t get too huffy with your parents over this.  It sounds like they may be some pretty smart people.

Facebook Fool

Dear Micah,

My son Facebook’s everything.  It’s ridiculous.  I have a Facebook account myself and I was looking on his page and saw all kinds of things that should be kept private.  He told everyone where he was going to be on specific days.  He talked about breaking up with his girlfriend when his father and I didn’t even know about it.  One night my husband and I were arguing over a credit card bill and he even made mention of how we were fighting over finances on Facebook!  My sister-in-law called me the next day to see if we were all right.  It was so embarrassing.  Do you know how I can get him off Facebook so much and to stop telling everything to a bunch of strangers?

Cyber Son’s mom

Dear Mom,

I know exactly what you are talking about.  Sometimes I have seen Facebook posts that I can’t believe and it always shocks me that these kids don’t realize that their parents, or someone who will tell their parents, are going to view these posts.  This problem goes far beyond just writing, “My Mom is getting on my freakin’ nerves”.  Or pissing off your teacher by saying, “Mrs. Gregson’s class is a snooze.”  I have seen posts from junior high girls saying, “I think I wanna be a slut today.”  I actually know of one specific girl who at 14 was having a lengthy dialogue on a social networking page that went into detail about her levels of sexual experience.  She also divulged what she hadn’t yet done, but wanted to–if she could find the right partner.  Now anyone could see this!  It was pretty risqué for a 14 year old.  Someone told her mom and the page was quickly erased, but the damage was done.  Now everyone knew her to be the slut she was or at least the one she wanted to be.  Your son has to learn that once an idea, image, or revelation is put out there, it’s there forever.  Even if he erases it, someone else read it, knows it, or copied it–it’s never truly gone.  Furthermore he also needs to learn a little respect for other people’s privacy.  He may feel completely uninhibited to post, “Already spent my allowance and now I am flat broke.”  But it’s another thing altogether to write, “Dad lost his job and they came to turn our water off today.  Mom called him a loser and threw a footstool at his head.”  He has no right to tell other people’s secrets or to discuss their woes with the world.  Your son also needs to learn a little about the dangers of revealing his whereabouts to the world.  The most obvious place our minds rush to is child predators.  You don’t want them knowing that you’ll be at the park by yourself at three o’clock, but there are other concerns too.  There have been cases of burglaries where the thieves chose the homes to rob based on homeowner’s Facebook posts where they revealed that they would be away from home for a while.  Employees have lost jobs before because they called in sick and then posted pictures of themselves enjoying their day off on MySpace or Facebook.  It’s great to live life openly and confidently, but your son should learn that he doesn’t have to share all aspects of his life with the outside world.  PRIVACY isn’t a very important concept to his generation.  They blog their feelings to the world, they text away their secrets, and some kids send nude photos of themselves through cell phones.  They leave trails of all of their actions all over the internet.  Privacy doesn’t matter to them until some nefarious person takes their words, images, or private thoughts and uses them against them.  By that time it’s too late to do anything about it.  Your son needs to be schooled on these dangers.  He also needs to understand that he can, and should, come to his parents first with his problems.  If I were you, the first thing I’d want to know is why he didn’t come to you or your husband with his breakup?  Does he have difficulty discussing emotions on a human to human, face to face basis or is he only comfortable opening up when it’s just to a cyber audience?  If that’s the case then ya’ll need to work on that before anything else.  Your son shouldn’t have to turn to a cold cyber world to express his emotions.

The Sign of Love

Dear Ask Micah,

My boyfriend wants to get matching tattoos.  I don’t think that I want to, but he is pressuring me to go through with it.  He said it’ll be a sign of our love.  How can I tell my boyfriend that I don’t want a tattoo without causing his feelings to be hurt?

Mandy

Dear Mandy,

Your body belongs to you and only you get to decide whether or not you want to brand it with a permanent marking.  Who cares if his feelings get hurt?  If he’s going to pitch a fit simply because you aren’t comfortable with getting a tattoo then he’s pretty much showing you that your relationship isn’t very serious or important to him.  A tattoo IS NOT a sign of love.  A tattoo is a sign of a tattoo.  The only way anyone would ever know that it was a sign of love would be if the two of you were together and held up your tattoos side by side and told the observer that they were a sign of your love.  In any other situation you would just be a girl with an art rendering on her body.  I have two friends that were a couple and got matching tattoos on their arms.  Then they broke up.  Now, for the rest of their lives, whenever they look down at their arms they are reminded of the love that didn’t last and they get the fun of explaining that choice to their new love interests.  Most people know how I feel about tattoos.  I don’t like them.  I know to some that makes me a fuddy-duddy, but I personally don’t like anything permanent that I can’t remove on my body.  I also find them trite and rather common now.  So many people have a tattoo now so you’re not being wild and crazy or expressing individuality when you get one.  To me it’s like saying, “Hey hey look at me, I’m different!  I have a tattoo like everybody else!”  The funniest tattoos to me are the Chinese symbols.  People love to say, “Its a personal symbol that has a special significance for me.”  My thoughts on that are, “It’s on your shoulder where you can’t see it so the special meaning doesn’t mean anything if you can’t glimpse it.  Also it’s in Chinese.  So for all you know it could really mean ‘Fat Girl’.  And you picked it out of a book at a tattoo parlor, so there are dozens, if not hundreds, of people walking around sporting the same symbol of ‘personal significance’ that you find so meaningful.” Don’t get the tattoo Mandy.  And if your boyfriend needs a symbol of love to show the world, it’s called a wedding ring.

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