Sense & Sensitivity

Friends Disagree About Disciplining Children

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just got into a heated discussion with a good friend about disciplining children. Typically, I stay away from these kinds of conversations because I know that people have various ways of dealing with their kids, but this was different. She told me a whole long story about how she had physically “handled” her teenage son so that he would listen to her. Then she asked me what I would do if I were in her situation. She asked! So I told her that I do not think that resorting to violence helps to teach kids how to behave. In fact, I think it can help teach kids to resort to violence rather than learn a lesson. She listened, but I could tell she wasn’t going to do anything different. Should I bring it up again? How do I handle this topic moving forward? We are close friends, and we see each other a lot. -- Roughed Up, Dallas

DEAR ROUGHED UP: You stated your opinion clearly when your friend requested it. Leave it at that. You do not have ongoing permission to voice your thoughts about the way that she parents her son. Keep your opinions to yourself unless you are asked again or you witness anything that makes you believe she is putting her son in danger.

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