Q: Is it appropriate for my mom to demand that I -- a 30-something independent woman -- allow her to "vet" the men in my life? She insists it's her prerogative and responsibility as a parent. I have a potential suitor who's visiting from out of town, and my mother says she needs four hours alone with him so that she can "check him over" and "tell him about me."
Jim: Unfortunately, it sounds like your mom has serious control issues. Wise motherly advice is a good thing when it's offered in the right way. But your mom needs to understand that advice isn't advice until it's requested. Whatever your mother may think, at this stage of your life it's not her place to tell you what to do.
If you think she'd be open to hearing your concerns, I'd suggest you talk to her about your feelings. You might say something like, "Mom, I appreciate your concern for me, but I need to make these types of decisions for myself." Then let her know that she simply doesn't have the right to subject your prospective boyfriends to some kind of interrogation. If she listens and agrees, you've gained your point. If not, you may need to keep your distance. Boundaries are good for all kinds of relationships -- especially relationships with controlling and manipulative personalities.
This isn't to say you shouldn't seek wise counsel from others who know you well. In fact, I'd strongly encourage you to enlist the help of a licensed marriage counselor if your relationship has or may soon be moving in the direction of marriage. Pre-engagement counseling offers the best option for determining if your relationship is marriage material before the ring is purchased and the invitations mailed out. Call us at 855-771-4357 for a referral and other resources.
Q: How can we know whether or not our child is ready to start school? Can you suggest any basic guidelines?
Danny Huerta, Executive Director, Parenting: School readiness is a term that generally refers to the emotional, behavioral and cognitive skills a child needs in order to learn, work and function successfully in school. It's a complex issue. Every child is unique and every situation needs to be evaluated in light of its own special circumstances.
Since you know your child better than anyone else, you are the best person to determine whether and when he's ready to take on the challenge of formal schooling. Here's a basic checklist of questions you can ask as you try to make that assessment:
-- Is your child enthusiastic about starting school? Is he eager to learn?
-- Does he demonstrate a desire to be independent? Can he dress himself, tie his own shoes, use the bathroom on his own and work independently with supervision?
-- Does he have the basic language skills he'll need to succeed in school? Does he speak in full sentences? Can he understand and follow simple instructions? Is he able to identify sound units in words and recognize rhyme?
-- What about basic academic knowledge? Does he know his numbers and his ABCs? Can he identify primary colors and basic shapes? Can he write his own name and recite his own personal information? If not, could he be taught to do so?
-- Has he mastered simple motor skills, such as throwing a ball, skipping or climbing, or working with puzzles, scissors and paints?
-- Is he capable of controlling his behavior and demonstrating acceptable social skills? Can he play and work with others, follow rules and sit still for up to 30 minutes at a time?
If you have additional concerns or if our counselors can be of further help, please call us at 855-771-4357.
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.
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