DEAR AMY: My 4-year-old son came home from preschool one day and explained how one of the other children has “two uncles” and how men can marry each other. My son and I talked about how it’s very uncommon but does happen, and I left it at that. He’s only 4, and our family believes that consenting adults are consenting adults. The neighborhood kids talk about marriage a lot. There are lots of girls here and they all want to be princesses and get married. When one of the girls decided to “marry” someone other than my son, he decided to marry her older brother. I think you can see where this is going. How do I explain to my son that many people don’t view two people of the same gender as “marriageable”? Also, how do I explain that we would prefer him to marry a girl, but would accept a boy?
DEAR CONFUSED: Young children commonly become fascinated by weddings and marriage, and it is normal for them to pretend, play “house,” etc. This is their way of trying to decode their world, as they play-act various adult and other family relationships (my nieces used to always pretend that they were “orphans” — go figure).
If you truly believe that consenting adults are consenting adults, then there is nothing to worry about and nothing to explain.
As your son matures, if he continues to be curious about what other people think about same-sex marriage, he will see this for himself.
If you and your husband feel so strongly that you would rather your son marry a woman than a man, you can tell him, “We hope you choose to marry a girl rather than another boy, but when you are a grown-up, you get to make your own choice. You can even choose not to get married at all.”
DEAR AMY: About a year ago I met the woman of my dreams. The only problem was that I was still married. I had been going to counseling before I met her and had been talking about how to end my marriage, but with two teenage kids, I wanted to wait until they both graduated from high school. Well, that didn’t happen. I left my wife and filed for divorce and eventually moved in with the woman of my dreams and her two kids. Both my son and my daughter said they wouldn’t stay with me until I got my own place, so I did. Up to this point the woman of my dreams opened her house for me and my kids. We both hoped this would work out. Now she doesn’t want my kids around because of how they treat me, the drama they bring and my lack of being a strong parent to them. So now she has second thoughts about us. I just want everyone to be happy. For the first time in my life I’ve found a wonderful woman who completes me and makes me very happy, but my kids don’t see it. We are seeing a counselor.
Looking for Answers
DEAR LOOKING: You should continue to live in your own place and welcome your children to stay with you. It was a mistake for you to instantly try to blend both families together and expect your children to embrace your fairy tale (yours even includes a wicked stepmother), especially when it came at such a cost to them.
Your personal happiness is not paramount to your children. The toughest part is for you to accept your kids’ anger about your choices, but not let them punish and manipulate you. Also, a parent and partner who rejects your children should not be the “woman of your dreams.” Stick with the counseling.
DEAR AMY: “Privately Proud Parent” asked about people violating their child’s privacy by posting and tagging photos on Facebook. I wanted to be able to share pictures of my twin grandsons with family and friends. My son set up a private page on Facebook. He approves of the members, and the pictures can’t be shared off this private site. This has worked out very well for all of us.
DEAR PROUD: Great solution.