In my position as 'she who solves all' I deal with many issues.
Sometimes I am asked for wardrobe advice - an outfit for an interview or date,
some people consult with me on consumer issues - I make astoundingly accurate recommendations on vehicle purchases,
and other people seek my advice on parenting.

Yesterday was particularly busy - here is what I dealt with, with my answers.
Lucky you.

My child's classroom aid may be gossiping about my child...what do I do?

I have a good deal of experience with classroom aids. Dedicated though they may be, they tend to be women of a certain age who have become bored at home. To assume that they are well educated or are anything beyond naively devoted to helping your child is an assumption you should not make. Let them talk. You can't stop it and making a big deal of it with the administration makes an even bigger issue of the fact that your child has a classroom aid at all.
Instead, work on the periphery - speak to the school social worker about what you expect, speak to the teacher, speak to other mothers. If you behave in a casual manner with regard to child's needs re the aid, others will ignore her gossip - if you magnify the fact that she gossips and how inappropriate that is, other people will wonder about you and your child, and your child's 'issues' and generate more idle talk. There are aids in many many classrooms, make it a non-issue.

My son (15) wants to attend a party where adults may not be present. I want to trust him but I am worried.

Has he given you reason to NOT trust him? (he hadn't)
Tell him he can go, give him a tight curfew, and tell him what you expect.
No drinking, no drugs, no sex.
Tell him YOU CAN TELL if he's done any of the above, and that you would like to trust him so that you can extend future privileges, but that you are concerned.
Let him go.
Hold your breath until he comes home (set a curfew earlier than he wishes) and remember to praise him for upholding your rules (if he does).
I'd bet, that if you've had no previous incidents of drunkenness or other unruly behavior, you won't this night either.
And I have no problem with being honest enough to tell a kid when you are concerned about what they MAY do.
Maybe if we keep the lines of communication open, they will too.

What can we tell our kids about our separation?

Get some books.
Call a professional.
There are scripts for these things -
Your children's reactions may be vastly different than what you think they may be.
They may be relieved. Kids aren't stupid and they aren't happy when their parents aren't happy.
And, then again, they may be crushed or feel guilty, having a mental health pro on your team may be very helpful.

And who speaks to me about my stuff?
How late can Middle stay out?
Is Oldest really moving out again?
How far do we go with Youngest's medical testing?
My K, who usually has a vastly different approach to our children but who is able to balance my free-wheeling-crazy-talking style.

I don't know why people seek out my advice -
wait, maybe I do....
I tend to sound like I know what I'm talking about.
And sometimes, just sometimes, I'm right.


Anonymous said…
You are so wise.

Will you take parenting questions from the audience (us) and answer them if you want?
Joke said…
Just so long as people don't think of you as a Magic 8 Ball and start shaking you and flipping you over...

-J., who worries
Anonymous said…
My husband is the advice guru wherever he works. I love that he is so sensible -- it means I can count on his advice, too. Your K is lucky to have you (and so are Middle, Youngest, and Oldest).
islaygirl said…
you know this, but you're totally right on about the separation question. my three-year-old (now four, but three at the time) had like 75 developmental leaps once her father and i took the leap and divorced.

they're smart, these little munchkins.
Paula said…
The problem is, once you answer everyones questions, they act like you never need help or you'll figure it out by yourself. That's what I've always run into. I got tired of being Mother Paula so I don't do it anymore.
Anonymous said…
Look out Dear Abby--bb's on the loose--with her sensible advice, army of admirers, and those g.d. adorable Mary Janes...

She's gonna stomp allovahya!
Anonymous said…
I'm giggling at " lil' bird"

You give good advice.. it's what you do :)

And we are here for you when you need it too :)
pirata segreto said…
Thanks for the reply. I'm on the lookout for a new camera and this is good info to have. I thought I had my e-mail up but I guess I didn't. It's in my profile section now. Thanks!