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My child failed but it’s okay and platonic love

Dear Manang,

I have a son in college. Recently, my son told me that he wanted to talk to me alone and asked if we could talk in private which surprised me. We had dinner and then he apologized because he failed in one subject. I was surprised and asked him if that was the urgent thing that he needed to talk about. Almost tearfully, he said he was sorry for the expense and promised to work harder the next semester if I would allow him to enroll again. Of course I said he could enroll again. I was the worst kind of student who asked my parents if I could have money to buy mathematics for a project in jest of their illiteracy and I couldn’t believe I deserved a conscientious son like him. Should I punish him?

Arnold, Puguis, LT

Dear Arnold,

You must have good karma for a son like that. Your son is of a different breed, how did you raise him or should I congratulate his mother? Taking the opportunity to apologize for wasting financial resources of the family reflects how you and your wife have ingrained values in your son. He assumes responsibility for failing and knows he could have done better. We wish all our children could be like him. Punish him? Better that you make agreements with him on his chosen responsibility in the next semester. Make him keep his promise. Don’t impose anything, let him impose it on himself so you can say it was he who promised those things to you. Let him commit himself.

Spare the rod,

Manang

Dear Manang,

How am I supposed to react to a gift? Will I send the wrong impression if I accept it or if I return it? I just want a platonic relationship, not a romantic one. How do I gracefully explain this?

Suzanne, PMA

Dear Suzanne,

Talking it over is the best way to approach any issue. You must gather your wits and make sure he is ready to talk. Ask him straight what the gifts are for but assure him that they are thoughtful gestures and appreciated. If he says he loves you, faint! Just kidding. This would be the opportune time to say you see him as a brother and friend. Which is more valuable. Besides, friendship lasts longer than romantic love. Say you want him as a friend for life. This might placate him. Be careful how you react after the serious talk, this is more crucial. Be cool but friendly and wholesome.

Watch your body language,

Manang

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