DEAR HARRIETTE: My son has been eager to get out with his friends the rest of the summer. We have not found out if the school will be physically in session or not. He has expressed a lack of friends and feels locked in and has nothing to look forward to. So with all the right precautions, I let him go down to our local park to play basketball and train.
I’ve talked to some of his friends’ mothers, and they have not let their children go to the park. When I asked who he has hung out with, it turned out to be older men in their 20s and 30s who worked in the park. My son is only 13 years old.
If he is not related to his own friends that I know, or children his age, I am not comfortable with him being outside and hanging out with these grown men that I do not know.
I do not want to tell him that he can no longer walk in the park, but I do not think he understands that I do not want him to be with these older new friends either. How can I give him freedom while still protecting him?
DEAR QUARANTINE MOTHER: This is simple. Your son should not go and play with grown men who are unknown to him. Period.
You can go with him one day to see who is there and to observe the interaction. But unless you can identify someone you know, you should not let him hang out with them. It is for security reasons on more than one front. You want to limit your son’s interaction with everyone, especially people he does not know. And you want to make sure he is not exposed to behavior or lures outside of a teenage boy.
Talk again with the friend’s mothers to see if any of them would be willing to arrange socially distant gatherings with your son. It’s the best alternative in my book.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a home-mom and my husband works from home now. We have three children and two dogs, a full house. We start our day early and end late in the evening.
My husband is in his office most of the time. We have tried to create a balance between work and private life with boundaries. He does not work outside his office and he keeps work between certain hours.
Even though we have found our rhythm, I feel so alone and programmed without a break. My kids need attention every second and my husband is close but not here most hours of the day. When I get a break, I feel exhausted and do not know how to relax. My home should be my sanctuary, but when I’m home and never have to go anywhere, I do not enjoy my breaks. What can help in this situation to calm my mind?
DEAR STIR CRAZY: Go back, breathe and reevaluate the situation. Yes, it’s stressful. But much of it probably resembles life before COVID-19. Think about what you did then and what is different now. Assign your children specific responsibilities that give you some flexibility.
Tell your husband that you desperately need his help. Even though it’s an hour every day after work, you need him to engage the kids so you can get an hour off. Do not complain when you talk to him about this. Explain that this is what you need to keep the family in check.
Harriette Cole is the lifestyle and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c / o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.