DEAR AMY: Is it appropriate for a parent to sleep in their 13-year-old’s bed alongside that child for the entire night?
This child just entered puberty and I feel this is wrong. What do you think?
DEAR CONCERNED: It is not appropriate for parents to co-sleep with adolescent children, partly because adolescents need and deserve some privacy, as they engage in the developmentally important process of figuring out who they are and what they’re about. It’s very hard to do this if the child is on some level answering the needs of the parent.
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A parent who co-sleeps with a child at this age (when it isn’t necessary for health or safety reasons) is seeing to his/her own needs, not the child’s. It is supremely selfish and could lead to major problems – not only the most obvious, which is the opportunity for sexual exploitation (as well as the possibility of being accused of sexual exploitation), but also the suppression of the child’s own emotional, physical and sexual development.
DEAR AMY: I just gave my “two weeks’ notice” at a job that I truly loved. (I’m leaving to move closer to family.) The job was great, and I was doing something that I really enjoyed.
The job has one downfall – my boss. It is just the two of us in one small enclosed office (in a residential senior center), so I spend 80 percent of my day around her.
She is extremely poorly-spoken, uneducated, computer illiterate and very unkempt. She is very rude to me, other employees, and oftentimes our residents. She rarely shows up to work on time and leaves early, and says to me, “If so-and-so calls, don’t tell them I left early.” Her boss works in a different location, so they do not get to see this side of my boss.
It has been a struggle to go into the office every day knowing what I will face when I get there.
When giving my notice (to the remote boss), they asked for feedback. How do I write a polite “feedback” letter stating all of the above? If I were to send what I just wrote to you, my boss would most likely be terminated immediately. The head of the company takes our “image” very seriously. I absolutely think that my boss does not belong in the current role she is in, but I’m not sure how I would feel, knowing that my words got her fired.
I know it’s never good to burn bridges – should I give feedback regarding the job itself or should I go for it and tell my true feelings about the job and the supervisor?
DEAR NEED: You are correct: It is never a good idea to burn bridges, unless the person on the other side of the bridge is someone who is incompetent and rude to you and to the elderly clients she is supposed to serve. In that case, grab a match, honey – and go for it.
Your employers care about their business and the people they are meant to serve. If this supervisor’s behavior is as bad as you report, she presents a considerable liability to the company and the residents. Think, also, of the next person the company hires to share a small space with this boss.
You should give this honest feedback as part of your exit. Write, “I’d like to give voice to my concerns about my supervisor.” Write that she was inattentive, late to work and early to leave, and occasionally rude to workers and residents. End your note by saying, “This behavior has a large impact on the workplace and the services the company provides. I have loved this job; I hope you find this feedback helpful.”
DEAR AMY: “Still Learning” is a middle-age woman starting to date after a divorce and she worries she’s not hot enough.
I loved your answer and have this to add: I am a recently divorced 46-year-old and can really identify with this writer. After a 20-plus-year marriage, it is very hard to imagine being intimate again with someone (other than your spouse!) and I had major body image issues. I was able to express my nervousness to the man I became intimate with and that was extremely helpful. His warm response to my worries was, “You look like a woman!” and with that he laid my fears to rest.
DEAR L: That’s a happy ending. Thank you.
Email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com.