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Didi’s Manners & Etiquette: Is Tattle Telling A Sin? + Relationship Dilemmas

Thursday, April 09, 2015


Telling your friends to etiquette-up is not easy. Whether it's talking to your fiancé about a prenup, a friend about their promiscuous child or why not to brag about your son's acceptance to Harvard on social media. All that, and what about flying with a sick person? 

Children Having Children

Is tattle telling a sin, because my daughter’s best friend is having sex and she’s only fourteen? I’m concerned about her getting pregnant and I’m also worried about her being a bad influence on my daughter and her friends. My daughter is adamant about my not telling the girl’s mother, who is pregnant, because it will upset her. Who should I talk to, what can I do? 

~Anonymous, Newport

A recent New York Times survey ‘How old were you when you first had sex?’ found that 58% of those surveyed answered anywhere between 13 and 19 years old. The primary concern is NOT whether or not tattle telling is a sin. The focus should be on the mental and physical health and well-being of your 14-year-old’s sexually active friend.

Not only is there a link between sexual promiscuity and depression (according to a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology), but teen girls are less likely to use birth control when depressed.

Find out how thorough the sexual curriculum in your daughter’s school is and make an appointment to talk to the professional in charge mentioning that you are concerned about fourteen-year-olds having sex. Your intention is to have a health professional reach out to the child to make sure she understands birth control options and to encourage her to talk to her mother. At that point, ask the professional if you should discuss the situation with the girl’s mother, or should she take the lead?

Be forewarned that, sadly, many schools still do not include sex education in the curriculum for younger teens.

If you do not want to get the school involved, buy the pregnant mother a small baby present and make a date to have coffee with her, saying you have a gift from you and your daughter. Over a cup of java or tea, ask her if you could confide in her before telling her you are concerned that “the girls are having sex so young and what should we to do about birth control for them.”

She might get up and walk out, and hate you forever. Or she may welcome the chance to confide in you, too. After you've told her, what you tell your daughter is up to you.

Go online to find information on teens having sex at PsychologyToday.com


What Are Prenups Good For?

My parents insist that I make my fiancé sign a prenup when he is perfectly solvent and hugely successful. It seems cruel and it is definitely not sexy. My father has had a prenup made up, but I can't bring my head or heart around to asking my fiancé to sign it. How can I politely get out of having to do this or politely ask my fiancé to sign it -- without having one of them hate me? 

~S.L., Santa Monica, CA

This is a hugely important, yet really tricky conversation, but you're not alone. Take heart in knowing that only three percent of married or engaged American couples confess to having a prenuptial agreement (according to the New York Times). Nevertheless, members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers report that over the past few years there has been a 63% increase in signed prenuptial agreements.

As soon as possible -- and at least a month before your wedding -- make a date with your fiancé when you're flying high about your up-coming marriage, and gently ask him if he could, please, do you one huge favor to humor and indulge your father. Sweeten your request by offering to make a compromise on another possible source of contention that you know you can keep: For instance, if he doesn't like your cat or cats in general, you'll find another home for it.

Before you do this, look up your state's marriage and divorce laws, because he might not know them either. You should also have a serious conversation before the prenup talk about who is paying for what? Will you be going back to work after having children? What happens if one of you dies? And, How much should you try to save?

By the way, a respected law firm won't handle your prenup if it includes any clause that deals with such life-style issues as, If you cheat on me, I get a set amount of money. If you gain over a certain amount of weight, I divorce you. Or, If you become addicted to drugs or alcohol, I divorce you. 


Flying With a Sick Person

What do you do when you find yourself flying next to a sick person? It was a full flight, so I couldn't change my seat. Every part of her body was oozing with her illness and I didn't know what to do about her during the six hour flight. The flight attendant was on to her being sick, because she refused everything but water, which she used to wash down pills every so often. I know I'm going to come down with whatever she had. 

~Angeline, Chicago

Not all disease transmission is airborne, so stay positive. If you've been getting enough vitamins and minerals through eating healthy foods during the weeks before the flight, you probably won't get sick. Aside from being quiet and not disturbing her, it sounds as though she was attempting to get her illness under control with those pills.

People who don't have strong immunity become accustomed to flying with a face mask that covers their nose and mouth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the N95 Face Mask that has been up to 90% effective during experiments in filtering out 95% of infectious particles. Let's hope that some day long-haul flights will be equipped with face masks for passengers who appear to be ill. 


What NOT to Say About Your Son's College Admission

My colleague is embarrassing himself by bragging at lunch, in the office, and on social media about his son getting accepted to a highly coveted college. It is not serving him well. His friends sneer at him behind his back when he says, "We're going to Harvard." He's my friend and I'd like to give him the heads-up to cool it. How do I tell him it is rude to brag when some of his colleagues' children are disappointed -- as are their parents? 

~Anonymous, Providence

Your colleague may have earned some bragging rights, but when he says 'We're going to Harvard,' it makes him sound foolish. He's not the one who did the hard work. Help him to examine the fact that he's taking too much credit. Kid him about using 'we're' -- and gently remind him that he does not need to boast, especially on the Internet. Challenge him to stay off of social media until the brouhaha of the college acceptance season is no longer in full swing.

You might even add, "You know, don't you, that NOT all of your colleagues' children were as lucky. So button up." 


Do you have a dilemma about love, family and life in general for Didi? Go ahead and "Ask Didi."  If your Question is used, we can withhold your name and/or location.


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