DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I noticed footprints in the backyard snow leading up to the window of the basement room where my teenage son sleeps. At first I wondered if he was sneaking in after drinking, but the footprints seemed small. About three nights later, with the window open a crack, we heard someone coming into the yard. We peeked out through a crack in the curtains and saw a young woman coming through the show at about 2 a.m. to knock on his window. The window opened, and he helped her down. We did nothing until morning when we greeted him at the kitchen table, studying and eating breakfast. He didn't seem at all upset when we confronted him, and kind of laughed at us. It seems she's a "friend with privileges" who'd come over. I told him it'd have to stop, and he said "Would you rather she started ringing the door bell at that hour." It hasn't stopped. What do we do next? He's 19 and in college, too young to move out. --The Parents, River Heights
Dear Parents: Casual sex between friends is a common option between real romances these days, and some young women are more aggressive about making the arrangements than the guys. She may have texted or called at 2 a.m. (bar closing time) wanting to come over. It's doubtful he would have called her at that hour. So you'd like him to say: "No, my parents don't approve." Unrealistic! What 19-year-old guy in college is going to say that? If you can't bear his having sex under your roof, then it's time for him to move out with friends. He's one year past the age of majority, not a baby. He'll need to get a job that pays for rent split between a few people and food. If he's a serous student, you may want to help him out (partially) until summer break. Moving out can be a great learning experience and it often brings closeness back to parents and "kids" who can't tolerate each other's attitudes and lifestyles anymore.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My two cousins in their 40s always want money from their mom. Auntie is well provided for financially and her daughters think she's their personal bank. Then auntie confides in my dad who wants to "straighten out the girls." It's not dad's place to talk to them and they will tell him off anyway. It's auntie's. I say she should get legal counsel and learn to say no to them, without guilt. I don't dare tell them that as they would tell me off too. -- T.J., Lockport
Dear T.J:. Some white lying may be in order for auntie to stop the borrowing. If close family want to borrow, it's best to say "I can't, the money is tied up," rather than "Go away. I don't want to." Your dad might suggest that he and she look at ways for her to fool the daughters so everybody saves face and no one is hurt. You can contribute with ideas sent through your father, but put a time cap on this. There are many things to worry about in the world other than problems the relatives are having with their "kids." Auntie and her offspring are adults and don't want your two cents worth anyway. Consider this question: Is auntie really upset about this, or is she a person who gives freely and then complains, enjoying the sympathy her image as a person who gives until it hurts with her dear family.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I feel this woman with the breast-feeding baby (who is breaking down and crying and having a terrible time coping) may have postpartum depression. If that is the case, she needs to see a psychiatrist to find out how she can help herself and her family. It may also be of help to her, and everyone around her, for her to quit breast-feeding at this point. There are options. From what you have printed, the woman's husband has money (so I imagine he could pay for a psychologist who may be of help to her). She could perhaps get some help by phoning ADAM (Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba) at 4 Fort St. -- Wanting To Help
Dear Wanting to Help: It's difficult to see a psychiatrist these days, as there are too few in the province, but she could start by seeing her physician or obstetrician, who can still prescribe safely if she needs it. She may also want to get a referral to a psychologist (or make her own appointment) so she can talk over her changed life circumstance and her feelings and work on making some adjustments. Many people who are on maternity leave from their company may find the cost of seeing a psychologist is covered by insurance.
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