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January 4, 2013

It’s always wise to make sure there’s parental supervision

NORMAN — Q: My fifth-grade daughter wants to spend the night with friends on the weekends and especially during the holiday break. At one friend’s house, I’m afraid there’s just not enough parental supervision. How can I make sure my fears are unfounded?

A: No matter how old your kids are, if they are living under your roof, you should make an effort to know their friends and their friends’ parents. Don’t ever be afraid to protect your child.

As parents, our gut instincts are usually right. It’s perfectly OK to ask another mother for coffee, to go inside when you drop off your child and to ask questions about someone being at the house to supervise. If the situation is uncomfortable, have the friend come to your house. It’s a great way to form a bond with those kids that will last a lifetime.

Our homes were always open to our own children’s friends. Sally woke up one morning to 12 teenagers in her home, and Jeannie is still very close to a lot of her kids’ friends because we both had the “open door” policy.

Going into middle school is not the time for parents to back off, simply because they think their kids are growing up. Quite the opposite is true. Even if your own child tells you you’re embarrassing her, she’ll thank you for it one of these days.

Q: My 15-year-old son, a freshman, got his heart broken for the first time over the holiday break. The girl he was interested in decided she liked someone else better. He has moped around for way too long and has rejected his friends’ offers to go have fun. How can we help him snap out of this behavior?

A: Love at any age is love. Try to remember your first broken heart and realize that what he’s feeling is as real to him as getting a heart broken is to an adult. Understanding how he feels is most important.

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