Dear Amy: My ex and I have been separated for a year, and divorced for three months. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year.
My 7-year-old daughter asked if she could call him “Daddy.”
I told her no. I explained that she has one mom and one dad, and that when we get remarried one day she will have a bonus mom and dad.
Well, last night she informed me that her daddy doesn’t care what she calls his girlfriend (they’ve been together for six months), so she is going to call her “Mom.” My ex said he sees nothing wrong with this.
My daughter also informed me that her daddy and his girlfriend take baths together.
What they do at their house is their business, but I think this is inappropriate for our two children (we also have a 3 year old) to be exposed to it. What do you think?
I come from a broken home where men went through a revolving door and I called all of them “Dad.”
I don’t want my kids to grow up like that, nor do I want them to think that it’s OK to take a bath with someone of the opposite sex.
Dear Upset: If you don’t want your children to grow up as you did, then you shouldn’t confuse nomenclature with behavior.
I understand you not wanting your children to call their parents’ various partners “Mom” and “Dad,” but I gather that what you really objected to about your own childhood was the revolving door, with your parent exposing your household to different men.
You and your ex have been separated for one year. Your boyfriend has been in your life for one year. This does not qualify as a revolving door, but it is a lot for two young children to transition quickly from parents to parents with partners.
What your daughter is expressing is a reflection of her own confusion regarding who is who, and possibly her own longing for the various adults in her life to be parental.
Don’t punish her, and don’t come down hard if she calls her father’s girlfriend “Mom,” but do encourage her to talk to you about her feelings.
I think it’s OK for adults to bathe together if they can maintain their privacy (this is hard to do with a 3 year old in the household, and so yes, they should confine their co-bathing to when the kids aren’t there).
Most importantly, it is NOT a good idea for both adults to be out of sight and unavailable when young children are awake and around. It is not safe to leave kids unattended while adults bathe together.
Dear Amy: Years ago, I was prescribed medication to help control my migraines. I always take one pill when I eat lunch.
I just open my pill case and swallow the medication before I forget. I never explain it, but if someone stares at me I’ll say something about how grateful I am for medicine which controls my migraines. This is not a big deal, right?
It helps me to live functionally, but why would anyone other than me care?
Recently, my mother saw someone taking medicine when we were eating out and remarked that she thought that was unseemly. She suggested that going to a restroom stall would be the best option so other people couldn’t witness taking a pill.
Now, I’m wondering – did I look like a junkie for years? I’m in a new job, and I don’t want to give a bad impression. Should I hide this?
Dear Wondering: Taking a pill does not make you look like a junkie.
But I can think of many reasons you might want to keep your medical situation private. Taking meds in full view of others naturally leads to questions and/or quiet speculation about what might be ailing you.
But if guarding your privacy might cause you to skip or forget to take your medication, then don’t worry about it. Your health is more important.
Dear Amy: I find your advice columns full of sage advice. However, I disagree with your recent answers regarding DNA testing.
In my opinion, it is likely to pose more questions than answers, especially to children.
I can think of few procedures with more potential for harm to a person’s tranquility.
Why open a can of worms?
Dear Arthur: Sometimes, a search for answers requires opening a can of worms. Tranquility isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.