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My 12-year-old daughter is always reading The Wall Street Journal and checking the stock markets. She says she want to be a businesswoman in New York, and I try to encourage her. She also is fascinated by serial killers and schizophrenia. Is this normal? Or should I be worried?
Is it normal? No.
Should you be worried? Not at all. Well, perhaps about the serial killers.
Your daughter is obviously both intelligent and mature for her age. Those are admirable and useful qualities, worthy of nurturing. Given the woeful lack of knowledge most kids have about investing at the time they leave high school, your daughter has already moved to the head of the pack in her understanding of finance. Again, a good thing.
However, while unusually mature, your daughter is still 12. Do pay attention to what she reads, and particularly the topics she researches beyond what she learns in the newspaper. There is no good reason for a 12-year-old to be fascinated with serial killers. As the parent, it is not only your prerogative, but your responsibility to ensure that your daughter sticks to age-appropriate subjects. Simply put, she is too young for that kind of fixation. But stocks, business news, and health topics? Let her go to town.
My husband and I are separating, and I’m moving out next week with our two boys, age 1-1/2 and almost 4. I tried to explain the move to my older son. I told him we would take Mommy’s stuff to a new home he has already seen, then move in. The idea excited him. Then I said Daddy wouldn’t be there, but he would see him a lot. The boy seemed fine with the idea, but I don’t think he really gets it. Can I do something else to help him understand, or should I just leave it and let him learn from experience?
You are correct. At less than 4 years old, your son does not understand the implications of separation. He may realize intellectually that the family is splitting up, but he will probably not be able to grasp the ramifications until his life changes. Perhaps you could keep trying to explain, but you risk scaring him, and you probably won’t have any more success at making him “get it.” The truth will sink in fairly soon regardless of what you say.
Realize that while children tend to dislike change, they also tend to adapt to it better than we adults do. Both of your sons will notice the difference right away, and the older one will certainly have questions. You can best help the boy come to grips with his situation by being there when he needs you.
You didn’t mention the reasons for your separation, and only you can determine whether your son needs to know them. You may want to dodge the “why” questions. But if he asks a “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” or “how” question, give it your best possible answer.
One more thing: There is a good chance that over the next few weeks or months, both of your sons will need more hugs or cuddles than usual. Provide them liberally. And they’ll also crave time with their father. Provide that liberally as well. Parents separate for a variety of reasons, but the children generally end up getting the worst end of the situation. Do your best to soften the blow for them.
My new high school is nine miles away from my house. Is that too far to drive every day? Sometimes I could spend the night at my aunt’s house, which is much closer.
In communities where most people live in single-family homes with a little land, nine miles isn’t far at all. In fact, distances of 15 miles or more are not uncommon in rural areas.
Sure, we’d all like to work or attend school just a few blocks from our homes. But such proximity is impractical for most of us. Realistically, if you can drive to school in less than 30 minutes, you’re not too far away.
Thank you for reading today’s Q&A. Check back here tomorrow for another installment of the Ask The Dad advice column. If you’d like to submit an Ask The Dad question, send it to email@example.com .