Who’s Your Daddy?

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband is 42 but often hangs out with our 13-year-old son and his friends, acting like a kid himself. Am I wrong to want my husband to act his age instead of trying to be our boy’s buddy?

A: There’s nothing wrong with expecting your husband to be a good role model–a mature, responsible, and trustworthy individual your son can look up to, respect, and admire.

But the fact that your husband spends time with your son and his friends doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not good role model material or that he’s shirking his responsibilities. There are a lot of factors to consider here. For example, what is he doing with the boys? If they’re occasionally hanging out in the garage and building a train set, or playing ball in the backyard, those are perfectly good bonding activities and your son can only benefit from this quality time he’s spending with his dad (and Dad will benefit too).

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Workin’ It

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m 15 years old and in the 10th grade. I will turn 16 just after school lets out for the summer and I want to get a job. However, my father won’t let me. He says that I’m too young and that he works to support his family. I think I understand his point, but I don’t like to ask my parents for money and I want to have my own.

A: Wow. I must commend you for your desire to work during your summer vacation—and for starting to think of it so far in advance. It shows maturity and level-headedness that many kids your age (and older) lack. So kudos to you. Be careful, though, there are parents all over the country who would love to have you come to their house to give their teens a pep talk.
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Teens and the Part-Time Job

Dear Mr. Dad: My fifteen-year-old wants to take a part-time job at a local fast food place. Actually, I’m not so sure he wants the actual job, just the money that goes along with it. Although I think it would be a great growth opportunity, I’m also worried that his grades will suffer with college just around the corner. I’m thinking of increasing his weekly allowance instead to make up at least part of the difference. What do you suggest?

A: Remember the first time you saw one of your classmates behind a counter a local store? If you’re like me, you were consumed with envy for the power, independence, and the adulthood it seemed to represent. I immediately began badgering my parents to let me join the Mysterious Society of the Working Teens.
So first of all, I wouldn’t assume that it’s all about the money. There’s probably a healthy dose of yearning for independence and maturity, and increasing the allowance might would have a negative effect in those areas.
Let’s take a look at the pluses and minuses:
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