Tell Me About It: On little girls' attire, being friends of divorced couple

While I'm away, readers give the advice.

On overly sexualized clothing for girls:

Why feel nervous about little girls' short-shorts and midriff tops? Would people similarly get nervous about a little boy playing outside in the summer with no shirt on?

I know it's hard to raise kids in a world that isn't always safe for them. Does a little girl's clothing choice matter in that regard? How can you say that to a child without hurting her? "We don't want you to wear the short-shorts in fashion because we don't want you to attract the wrong kind of attention." That's kind of the peewee version of the rape myth, that what a woman wears or does is part of why she gets raped.

Parents should focus less on shaping girls into their image of what a girl should be, and more on strengthening them for their futures as young ladies.

On being friends with both halves of a divorcing couple:

It's not about deciding whose side you were on in the divorce, but being clear about the kind of friendship you can offer moving forward. What you see as anger probably includes a lot of pain. Do you want to be there for her to talk about anything, including that pain? Anything except the divorce? Or do you just want to be socially comfortable? Be sure you tell them the truth.

To survive a difficult divorce, a person has to establish boundaries and find emotional safety. Are you available for that? They deserve to know your new limits - will you be talking to him on the street politely, inviting him to dinner, or baking his birthday cake if necessary? Then she can decide whether this is "just one more thing" to get used to (in a world where everything has changed) or whether she needs to look for new, more emotionally secure relationships.

On fairness:

"Fair" is the card people play when they don't like the hand they've been dealt and want what you have.

I find this applies in many circumstances, not merely ugly family dynamics.

 


E-mail Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.