My 9 year old son plays baseball in a league for kids ages 8 to 12. There are two divisions, both based on age. A few years ago, girls were allowed to play. (Some people objected.) This brings me to my problem: There is a girl on my son’s team who is taller and taller than most boys. She is an excellent athlete. She also happens to play in the same position as my son – meaning he can’t play much. As a feminist, I have no problem with this girl playing. But may I suggest that she be promoted to the older division because of her size advantage?
Listen, I’m trying to give your son a boost. But you’re on the wrong track here. You keep mentioning the girl’s gender, which is totally irrelevant. Girls are allowed to play! And promoting her to the older division because of her size ignores the bigger guys. Shouldn’t they also be promoted? It seems like your real motive is eliminating your son’s direct competition.
Here’s the problem: Children are typically enrolled in school and activities based on their age. It doesn’t have to be that way. We may use skill tests or other markings. But your son’s league sorts players by age. So if this girl falls within the age range of the team, she gets to be the star.
Turn this into a learning experience for your son. We can’t be the best at everything, but we can happily participate. (Visit me at a tennis court for proof!) As long as the coach gives your young son a chance to play in every match, you’re shifting your focus from his competitors to the pleasure of playing.
My mother-in-law has been dating her friend for seven years. During this time I witnessed the girlfriend being mean to my mother-in-law, my mother, my wife and me. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. But that changed two years ago when she made a scornful “joke” at the expense of my wife. Now I’m trying to avoid her. My wife and I are expecting our first child this year. Given the girlfriend’s annoying behavior, we don’t want her near our baby. How do we set this limit?
Your mother-in-law’s girlfriend sounds thoroughly unpleasant. Still, there are complications here: The way you handle this problem can profoundly affect your wife’s relationship with her mother. (This is her partner we’re talking about!) Luckily, your child isn’t born yet — so there’s no rush. Make sure you and your wife agree before doing anything.
She may only want to talk to her mother, for example about the girlfriend’s problems, or she may prefer to talk directly to the girlfriend. As of now, it seems like no one called the girlfriend because of her bad behavior. Is there a reason for this?
Giving someone “the benefit of the doubt,” as you say, does not mean you are silently abusing. Here it would mean pointing out unacceptable behavior and trusting that the girlfriend is trying to do better. I’m not asking you to tolerate disrespect – just to speak up before cutting an extended family member out of your life.
People often ask me for recommendations — restaurants, service providers, etc. — and then, after I’ve made them, ask, “How much does it cost?” I tell them, and they often exclaim, “I could never pay that much!” This leaves me at a loss. I have not voluntarily provided the information; they asked for it. Then they make me feel bad that my recommendation doesn’t fit their budget. Any advice?
I doubt anyone wants to hurt your feelings. (Sounds like they’re throwing out their sticker shock!) But if this happens a lot and bothers you, why not flip the script? Before making a recommendation, cut the conversation short by asking, “Do you have a budget in mind?” This way you can make suggestions that fit the bill or apologize for not being able to help.
I thought this was a beautiful building!
My boyfriend and I rent out an apartment (in a fancy co-op) that we could never afford to buy. We thought we made it until our neighbor’s son picked up the drums. It makes a terrible noise every hour! When we spoke to the boy’s mother about the noise, she looked at us as if we were crazy. Help out!
She may be shocked! You can try talking to an adult in the house again. But the mother’s first reaction doesn’t bode well. However, the great thing about co-ops is the same as the worst of them: boards of directors and directors tend to get involved in problems in a pinch.
Contact the CEO or CEO about this young Ringo Starr. Ask that his practice sessions take place on a schedule that is less disruptive to you. Or, if it’s a really chic building, request an upgrade to an electronic drum kit (with headphones!) for ultimate peace and quiet.
For help with your difficult situation, send an inquiry to SocialQ., to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.